Masters 2017: Day One Recap
Well, that was fun.
Day one of the 2017 Masters took place yesterday at an Augusta National which proved a fearsome foe for many. With 18 holes in the books, already plenty of talking points have emerged.
To help get you ready for today’s action, let's have a recap of Thursday’s goings-on.
All the pre-Masters hype centred on the dominant form of the current world number one and a consideration of which players in the field had the game to stop his march to a first green jacket.
As it turns out, a freak accident at a rental property was enough to scupper Johnson’s plans for this week as an unfortunate fall led to a badly injured lower left back. With pain at impact and follow through, he eventually took the decision to withdraw from the tournament.
Being able to swing at 60-70% might still have been enough to keep DJ competitive however, now that he has taken the decision to sit this one out, we can all patiently await his numerous future tilts at a first Green Jacket.
A scarcely believable round of 65 came from a relatively unlikely source yesterday in Californian Charley Hoffman. Indeed, the man himself confirmed that the main focus on the first tee was merely to survive the conditions and to stay in touch.
Shooting a score which was almost ten shots better than the field average has this round up there with the most impressive in Augusta’s history. When we go a step further and consider the brutal conditions which were in play yesterday - though, admittedly Hoffman did benefit from a later start time - the seven under par total looks all the more impressive.
The question now is whether he can capitalise on this solid foundation over the remaining 54 holes and how he may react to the pressure that will undoubtedly come from players stacking up behind.
Despite a final hole double-bogey, our very own brand ambassador Matt Fitzpatrick finds himself well placed after an opening round 71.
Having led at three under par for a few holes, throughout the entire round the young Englishman had aquitted himself admirably. Reaching the turn under par, he navigated the infamous ‘Amen Corner’ well and escaped having played the trio of holes at even par.
Sitting at T-4 after 18 holes puts Matt in a perfect position to improve on his impressive T-7 placed finish just 12 months ago. Come on Matt. The Hole19 community are all behind you!
No doubt Jordan Spieth would have given a deep sigh of relief when his tee shot came to rest on the back edge of the 12th green – the scene of last year’s calamitous quadruple bogey.
With a ho-hum par in the books, the young Texan headed to the 13th tee at level par and just a few shots off the lead. This was maintained until the par five 15th, where his third shot spun back off the green and to the pond below. Shot 5 went long and, after his sixth just held on to the green with the watery grave eager to cruelly gather his ball for a second time, Spieth suffered a three putt and carded a nine – his second quadruple bogey in as many competitive rounds at Augusta.
You might want to watch this behind your hands:
54 holes left for Jordan to make amends.
Having enjoyed a very slow start, by his own exceedingly high standards, Rory McIlroy managed to turn in an even par 72 thanks to some great putting on the back nine.
Things looked pretty ominous on the front nine but the ship was steadied around ‘Amen Corner’ and he managed to capitalise on the two par fives at 13 and 15. A final birdie at the 16th allowed the Northern Irishman to get into the clubhouse on the same score he started the day on - pretty good going given the blustery conditions.
He’s still seven shots behind Hoffman though.
What was your day 1 highlight? Will Hoffman be able to build upon his brilliant opening round and capture his first major championship? If not, who can catch him? Let us know on Facebook at Hole19 Golf and on Twitter via @hole19golf.