Toss that card
Defending Masters champion Bubba Watson carded a 75, done in by some poor putting.
“I never got the speed right, never got the ball to the hole,” Watson said. “They were slower than what I was expecting.”
Keep that card
Co-leader Marc Leishman shot a 6-under 66 and had four straight birdies on the back side starting at No. 13. Not bad for someone missed the cut in his only other Masters appearance in 2010.
“The first time I was here,” Leishman said, “I was like a bit of a deer in headlights, I guess. I found myself looking around a little bit too much and not concentrating on getting the ball in the hole.”
No Australian has ever won the Masters.
Tiger Woods shot a 70 to finish four shots off the lead and send an ominous message to the field. Woods shot a first-round 70 when he previously won the tournament in 1997, 2001 and 2002.
On the course with ...
Rickie Fowler didn’t make it to the top of the leaderboard, but he had one of the most interesting rounds of the day.
The 24-year-old became the first player to post a round in the 60s that included two double-bogeys at the Masters since Raymond Floyd in 1992. Fowler followed up both of his double-bogeys with birdies to stop the bleeding quickly.
Shot of the day
Jamie Donaldson aced the 180-yard sixth hole for the 24th hole-in-one in Masters history. He is only the fifth player to make a 1 at the hole known as Juniper, with its towering tee box and a green at the bottom of the hill. Donaldson was the first to do it since Chris DiMarco in 2004.
Shortly after dawn, the tournament began with ceremonial shots from three of golf’s greatest players — 83-year-old Arnold Palmer, Gary Player , 77, Jack Nicklaus, 73.
Palmer was clearly pleased with his effort, which settled right in the middle of the fairway. He pumped his right fist as the crowd roared.
“The only nerves are to make sure you make contact,” Nicklaus quipped. “It doesn’t make a diddly darn where it goes.”
Some of the talk Thursday wasn’t just about what was happening on the tees and greens, but who was outside the ropes looking in. The No. 1- and No. 2-ranked players in the world, Woods and Rory McIlroy, had entourages that included girlfriends with some pedigree of their own.
For Woods it was Lindsey Vonn, the Olympic ski champion. For McIlroy it was Caroline Wozniacki, the No. 10 tennis player in the world.
Wozniacki put on a caddie’s bib Wednesday for the Par 3 contest.
Quote of the day
“When I was on the ninth, I turned to my caddie and said, ‘We’re leading the Masters.’ He just looked at me and smiled.”— David Lynn, who shot a 68 in his first round at the Masters.
Top 50 and all players within 10 shots of the lead will play into the weekend. Notable tee times: Sergio Garcia, 8:39 a.m.; Rory McIlroy, 9:34 a.m.; Tiger Woods, 12:41 p.m.
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