DPB’s intrepid golf analyst checks in with some high- and low-lights from Augusta…with hope renewed that his first ace is still 50 years down the road.
Day One of the Masters is always usually a wash. It’s Thursday at work and I’m usually looking up the leaderboard during meetings, trying to watch some live coverage during lunch, and I miss most of the “you’ve got to be kidding me” moments.
Yesterday was no different, except the moments came at just the right time. I’ll tell you now, Spieth is looking hard to repeat and this is going to be a good week at Augusta.
Let’s start with The Kid. Twenty-two-year-old Jordan Spieth finished a very windy day 6-under par 66 and right back where he was last year when he shot an opening round of 8-under par 64 and then went on to win at 21 years old and matching Tiger Woods’ overall 18-under scoring record.
The blogosphere and the comment queens had Spieth all but down and out on Wednesday. They had given up on the world’s No. 1 because he was “struggling”—and hadn’t finished on top in recent weeks. He was tired they said, he is too young to win again they said. But they were wrong, are wrong, and will be wrong. This is a new generation of champion. He’s humble, he knows his game, he’s still making time to talk to fans on the course and honor those that came before him, and he will get along just fine in Georgia over the next three days.
Then there are the other two young guns.
Jason Day, now 28, was supposed to be Spieth’s main competitor. But he missed a four footer on the 15th today, then made triple bogey after going long into the drink on 16, and chalked another bogey on 17, finishing 72 even. I blame it on the baby, no one sleeps well when the kids are that young.
Rory McIlroy, 26, on the other hand had some waiting to do – which may have saved him more than he knows as he chases his elusive Grand Slam. He started in the final pairing of the day, but he played patiently. On Day One there is no need to run ahead, we all know what happened to the hare. Rory finished at 2-under and is still well within striking distance. Plus he’s got an early up tomorrow, which should give him cleaner greens and better light.
As for the others that everyone was watching:
Adam Scott, who won in 2014, hit a PLUS 4 – 76, thanks to a back-nine 38.
Bubba Watson, who already has two green jackets, was one shot better than Watson overall with a 75, but closed with an inward 41.
And Lefty, my favorite, is an Even 72 going into day two. Which isn’t bad for Phil, but also isn’t good. Last year he gave us so much hope when he eagled the par-5 8th and finished Day One at two-under. This year, I’m not so hopeful. But he’ll be fun to watch as always.
And now for the…you’ve got to be kidding me:
First, let’s talk about @DannyGolf72. The 25-year-old from the land of the long white cloud finished second, tied for second place with Shane Lowry, behind Spieth. A far cry from when he was laughed at for his six putt on 17 seven years ago. He came out of no where, practicing at Augusta for nearly a week earlier than the others, and no one really knows if he can hold on.
— Masters Tournament (@TheMasters) April 7, 2016
And there is Ernie. Oh Ernie.
I like Ernie. And I, like Ernie, have started my day on the course with an occansional quintuple-bogey 9 and even sextuple bogey 10 (which it was originally scored as)—just NEVER in a Major Championship. No one at the Masters has ever gone higher than 8 on the first par-4 hole. And no one will ever forget what poor Ernie did today.
Then there is this gem from Wednesday:
Gary Player—81-year-old Gary Player—who made his 31st – yes 31st – hole-in-one during Wednesday’s Par 3 Contest. Player, a three-time Master Champion, made the ace on the seventh hole alongside Ol’ Jack and Tom Watson—two of the best. I dare you not to cheer when this one goes in.
Enjoy the golf today my friends. The only prediction worth anything is that it will be good.
Justin Broglio is former President of the Sierra Avalanche Center. He is a father (of two!), a husband, a backcountry skier and communications officer for the DRI in Reno. He has has never taken his three iron out.