First Round Thoughts — 04.07.16

My legs are numb.

Some will argue so is my brain.

10 hours on the settee with an iPad, Laptop and TV watching three different feeds is exhausting.

Here’s what caught my eyes and ears from the leader board.

Jordan Spieth (1st): He’s wondering why people think he’s struggling and he’s right. His numbers on this layout are mind-boggling and he’s now led in six of nine career rounds. He thought 70 would have been an excellent score today; he shot 66.

Danny Lee (T-2): Besides giving the greatest post-round interview ever, Lee decided that not hitting the top 40 in 2016 is the proper preparation for this event. Probably didn’t hurt he only needed 1.5 putts per hole.

Shane Lowry (T-2): ITCHY BEARD ITCHY BEARD ITCHY BEARD. I get thoughts of heavy sweating and razor burn every time takes the club back. Out in bogey-free 31 laid a marker so coming home in 37 didn’t hurt much. Painted fairways and greens all day but the putter went cool on the back.

Paul Casey (T-4); Went toe-to-toe with Spieth in the morning Featured Group. Plenty of solids off the tee and into greens but still misses too many short ones to get me excited. If the weather turns having his ball-striking in the lineup won’t hurt if you can handle  some missed chances on the greens.

Justin Rose (T-4): Solid 69 with just one three putt = arrows up. Gladly will stalk the pace as he knows his way around these parts and has a major championship on the mantle.

Ian Poulter (T-4): Played in a stiff breeze two weeks ago in Puerto Rico and led after 54 holes. Closed with three birdies in his final six today to keep the positive vibes moving into Friday. Closed 67-67 here last year and has top 10s in half of his last four tries at Augusta.

Soren Kjeldsen (T-4): Played his last 11 holes in five-under to offset two bogeys and no birdies in his first seven. He’s posted four of seven rounds here under par but his best finish in any major is T-6 at the 2009 PGA. A donut without a hole is a danish.

Sergio Garcia (T-4): IS THIS THE RYDER CUP?!?!?! Where are all the Americans? Colin Montgomerie said he doesn’t believe that Garcia believes he can on the greens so why should I believe what anyone believes? Believe you me, I’ll believe it when I see it.

Billy Horschel (T-9): Opened with 70 last year and followed with 78 to MC. Didn’t paint it tee-to-green but was helped out by the flatstick and that never hurts especially at ANGC. Repeating it is the toughest part.

Scott Piercy (T-9): He was on form entering the week and got it to four-under at one point. Eagle. Double. Birdies. Bogeys. Making everything on the card can wear a guy out but he’ll be comfortably under the radar with another round like this.

Danny Willett (T-9): #NappyFactor rocking again! New baby before the Masters but Willett hasn’t missed a beat. Missed a short-ish one on the final hole to miss a bogey-free round by a shot. 71-71-76-71 here last year suggests this round shouldn’t be a surprise.

Rory McIlroy (T-9): Loose bogey from the middle of the fairway on No. 18 will make dinner taste a bit funky. So will the three putt on No. 16. There’s an old saying about not winning the tournament on Thursday but you can lose it. He’s out in the early half of the draw tomorrow as he’ll attempt to chase down Spieth and the career Grand Slam.



Hideki Matsuyama (T-13): Japanese Metronome continues down the road to elite status.

Jimmy Walker (T-13): The winner of the Par 3 contest has never won. Be aware.

Phil Mickelson (T-21): Whew. Sat 2-over through 11 before a nice rally to finish even.

Henrik Stenson (T-21): I keep getting reminded that he’s never hit the top 10 here in 10 tries.

Jason Day (T-21): Out in 31 and looked like nothing was going to stop him. Home in 41 like he’d never played the back nine before. As he mentioned post-round, if the scores were flipped, he’d be elated. I dig that mindset.

Tom Watson (T-43): If you accidentally wrote down “Watson” in any side games, make sure you tell them you meant Tom as he beat Bubba by a shot today.

Adam Scott (T-59): His 76 to open looked dire until the wind picked up in the afternoon. He’s 10 shots back and added to tough day for Aussies on Thursday.

Rickie Fowler (T-81): 80. Two doubles and a triple. And to think he was under par after five holes. Was in the early wave as well. Woof.



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