Augusta, Ga.

Charley Hoffman, who has one PGA Tour victory since 2010, took the early lead at the 2015 Masters with a 67. He eagled the 15th and shot 33 on the back nine. At the moment, Justin Rose is on the 17th hole and also is at five-under.

The last seven years, the winner of The Masters opened with a score in the 60s.

You can follow leaderboards elsewhere, so I'll offer personal observations from the course: It's packed. It's packed in places I haven't seen it packed before, and even around less-popular groups. I've never seen such a mob scene at Amen Corner.

It's difficult to see the more popular groups, at least from up close.

It's also stunning how quiet and still these large crowds can become when a player approaches the ball.

When you cover other majors, marshalls are constantly raising their arms and shushing the crowd. Here, the crowd quiets by itself.

There are some tough pin placements out there - on the ridge at No. 4, back right at No. 6, back left at 10, straight over the bunker on No. 12.

With Mike Weir, Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson proving that lefties can win at Augusta, one popular question has been: Why now?

The most interesting answers:

1. Modern equipment allows lefties to play a fade without losing much distance, and a lefthanded fade is a necessary shot on this course.

2. As Watson noted, No. 12 is a pivotal hole, and it punishes shots that are long left and short right. Those are common misses for a righthander. A lefthander, Watson noted, usually misses short left and long right, which plays perfectly into the 12th green.


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