The Masters, Round 1 Summary
By Torleif Sorenson on 4/11/13
The three biggest stories that emerged from the first 18 holes of 77th Masters Tournament are eye-raising, each for their own special reasons:
  1. Sergio Garcia and Marc Leishman shoot 66
    The emotional Spaniard, who only last year openly questioned his ability to win at Augusta National, carded a bogey-free 66, dodging trouble at 13 with a three-putt, then saved his hide with an excellent wedge shot at 15.

    Meanwhile, 29-year-old Marc Leishman of Warrnambool, Victoria put himself in fine shape to be the first Australian to win The Masters. After coughing up a bogey at the first, got into red figures with birdies at 8 and 10, then got heated up like a microwave oven with four consecutive birdies at 13, 14, 15, and 16.

  2. The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill...
    ...and got in with a 68, -4. David Lynn followed up his 2nd-place finish at the 2012 PGA Championship by turning in another fine account of himself at this year's first major, despite bogeys at 10 and 17. The slowly-but-steadily improving 39-year-old Stoke-on-Trent resident encountered bogeys at 10 and 17 but carded enough birdies to put him on the first page of the leaderboard at a second consecutive major.

  3. Tianlang Guan shoots 73
    The 14-year-old from China, who gained entry to The Masters by virtue of winning the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship, was not blown away by Augusta National on Thursday. He only wavered between level par and 2-over, sinking memorable birdies at 13 and at 18. With the cut now permitting the low 50 and ties, Guan has a realistic chance of finishing as low amateur.
Nowhere near being written off, Dustin Johnson is lurking at -5, a round highlighted by a 354-yard bomb off the tee at 13, leaving himself just a 9-iron into the green and a ticklish-but-impressive eagle. Johnson was at -6 until he bogeyed 17, but has nevertheless left himself in fine shape for Friday.

Fred Couples admitted to one reporter that he had to drive harder than usual, but offset three bogeys with birdies at 2, 5, 8, 10, 13, and 17 to get in with a 4-under 68. Not at all shabby for a 53-year-old!

Interestingly, while Tiger Woods talked about maintaining discipline even in the face of softer-than-usual greens, Phil Mickelson told ESPN's Tom Rinaldi that he plans to play Friday in a far more aggressive manner than he did on Thursday.

Ace Detective
Meanwhile, Jamie Donaldson, a 37-year-old Welshman who plays on the European Tour, became only the fifth player ever to ace the par-3 6th hole in Masters competition, joining Leland Gibson, Billy Joe Patton, Charles Coody, and Chris DiMarco. He needed that ace, too; his only other sub-par hole was at 13, while three bogeys and a double at 12 left him at 74 after 18 holes.

Friday On My Mind...
Following a Thursday evening forecast for showers and thunderstorms, Friday's forecast calls for a 40% chance of showers and thunderstorms, gradually clearing with a high of 79°F. With predicted new rainfall amounts between .10 and .25 inches, the course may be soft enough to let Phil Mickelson (-1) and Tiger Woods (-2) get more aggressive with the Friday hole locations.

The fun is just beginning, friends.

Masters Leaderboard

Image via Augusta Chronicle, Sara Caldwell

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