Day 1 at Augusta
Keep that card
Tony Finau: A day after dislocating his ankle while celebrating a hole-in-one during a par-3 exhibition, Finau not only made his tee time but got around Augusta National in 68 strokes, making six birdies, in his Masters debut. He’s two back of Jordan Spieth.
Toss that card
Sergio Garcia: The defending champion took a 13 on No. 15 after he put five balls in the water and finished with an 81 — two shots worse than any other professional in the field.
On the course with ...
Tiger Woods: Dressed in black from head to toe, Woods tried to approach his first shot at the Masters in more than 1,000 days like any other. But he put that first tee shot left and into the trees. “It didn’t fade,” he said with a sly grin. So it went Thursday for Woods, who plodded his way to a 1-over 73. Woods struggled on the par-5s, normally his bread and butter at Augusta, and played Amen Corner in 2 over, including a water ball on No. 12. That kept him from taking his score into red numbers. Two birdies over the final five holes helped improve his mood after the round. “I fought hard to get it back in there,” Woods said. “And I’m back in this championship. There’s a lot of holes to be played.”
Doug Ghim carried the flag for the seven amateurs at the Masters by rolling a medium-range putt for eagle on No. 13 and holing out for eagle on the 18th hole for an even-par 72. It was only the sixth eagle on the 18th hole at the Masters, and the first since Chris DiMarco in 2006. British Amateur champion Harry Ellis had a much tougher time. He opened with a double bogey, started the back nine with a triple bogey and shot 86. Matt Parziale, the firefighter from Brockton, Mass., who won the U.S. Mid-Amateur, managed three birdies but shot 81.
• Jordan Spieth, at age 24, has played 17 rounds at Augusta. He’s held the lead at the end of nine rounds and trailed after eight rounds.
• Jason Day hit his drive on No. 1 into the trees and it landed in a patron’s beer cup. By rule, Day had to identify his ball and play it from the spot. So the fan chugged the beer.
• The day’s final threesome completed its round in 5 hours, 16 minutes.
• Food for thought — Danny Willet won the 2016 Dubai Desert Classic, and won the Masters. Sergio Garcia won the 2017 Dubai Desert Classic, and won the Masters. Haotong Li won the 2018 Dubai Desert Classic, and is three shots off the Masters lead.
Par-5, 530-yard No. 15: Yes, this is where Sergio Garcia’s hopes at a second green jacket faded away one water ball at a time, but it’s also where nine players in the day’s top 10 made birdie. The 15th, known as “Firethorn,” played to a stroke average of 4.644 on Thursday, with 45 of the 87 players making a birdie. Sandy Lyle, the 1988 Masters champ, made eagle.
Quote of the day
“I couldn’t get it closer with a bucket of balls.”
— Jordan Spieth, on his chip shot to 1 foot at the 18th hole.
Tweet of the day
“One is a natural disaster. The other is an earthquake.”
— @djm182, commenting on the top two trending topics on Twitter midafternoon Thursday: Sergio Garcia and a 5.3 tremor in southern California.
Players hit the course again beginning at 7:30 a.m. looking for redemption or another solid round to keep their Masters hopes alive. ESPN picks up coverage at 2 p.m.