Augusta National Golf Club was there for the taking during the first round of The Masters on Thursday and 20 players shot par or better. Topping the white scoreboard was Jordan Spieth, who carded 66 to lead by two strokes.
‘I put it up there with one of the best rounds I’ve played,’ said the defending champ, who last year equalled Tiger Woods’ record for lowest winning total at The Masters: 18-under-par.
On Thursday Spieth made six birdies and no bogeys to begin his title defence in style. Chasing hard were second-placed Shane Lowry and Danny Lee, followed by a five-way tie for fourth place that included Justin Rose and Ian Poulter.
Spieth’s success is no surprise given his comfort level at Augusta National.
‘The good news out here is so much of it is feel based, where you have so many different slopes you’re hitting off of,’ he said. ‘You’ve got to work. It’s most important what the ball does right at impact, and I felt like I was still there.’
World number one Jason Day had moved to within a shot of Spieth on the 14th but then three-putted the 15th before sticking his tee shot on the 16th into the water.
That resulted in a double bogey and a four-shot swing across the two holes, and an errant tee-shot on the next led to another dropped shot as Day closed on even par.
‘There were only four bad holes, really, in amongst some really terrific golf,’ said the Australian.
Louis Oosthuizen was the leading South African and carded level par for a share of 21st, while Charl Schwartzel struggled round in 76 and Trevor Immelman in 77.