The day was led off with the ceremonial first tee shots which featured Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player with a very nice and emotional speech by Augusta National Chairman Billy Payne remembering Arnold Palmer. Then, we were off…
With high winds and tough conditions, birdies were hard to come by as only 11 players finished under par. Charley Hoffman was playing video games compared to the rest of the field and came in with a ridiculous 7-under 65. As seen with all other majors, the rabbit is usually caught by the field by the end of day 2 or middle of day 3 so it will be tough for Hoffman to continue this pace.
The big story was favorite, Dustin Johnson, walking off the first tee and withdrawing from the tournament after slipping and falling on stairs at his rental house the night before. He received treatment leading up to his tee time and was going to attempt to give it a go but dropped out at the very last second. I can’t speak to how bad this injury really is but in speaking with the media, Johnson said he would have been fine in a couple days. I don’t care if i accidentally hacked a limb off, I am still competing. But the story is what it is.
Jordan Spieth had a tough day with his second quadruple bogey in as many rounds in the Masters after his 9 on #15. But the rest of the round was solid as he carded a 3-over 75.
2016 Memorial winner, William McGirt, carded a legit 69 and sits 4 back of Hoffman. A great start. Can he sustain it and reel in Charley?
Phil Mickelson is at 1-under, exactly where you would expect him to be. Being able to watch lefty attack the weekend is always an adventure.
Rickie Fowler had it going early but a few bogeys and a double on 18 dropped him down to 1-over but still right there.
Crazy, but absolutely everyone is still in it. The bottom of the leaderboard is all newcomers, amateurs, and unknown foreign tour players and it seems that all the big hitters from around the world are still very much in contention. A stacked leaderboard going into the weekend is a dream for a golf fan. Can’t wait for round two tomorrow.