The 85th Masters started with a track that was much more firm and fast than the 84th version. Greens were tough to hold, balls were running much more quickly into the second cut, and a dried out Augusta National made life much more difficult for the field.
Everyone is currently chasing Justin Rose, who posted a how-did-he-do-that 65 for a four-shot lead after 18 holes. The 2013 US Open winner has come close at Augusta before, finishing second in both 2015 and 2017. For a 10-hole stretch from No. 8 to No. 17, he had an eagle, seven birdies and two pars. That’s -9 on a course where no one else could break -3 for the day.
But there were plenty of players that shot themselves in the foot as well. One of the early favorites in Bryson DeChambeau is +4. Lee Westwood was a chic pick, and he’s at +6.
But one player that put themselves in position is Jordan Spieth, despite a triple-bogey seven on the Par 4 9th. He finished at -1 thanks to a rare eagle yesterday on the slippery 15th, and is in the Top 10 after his win in four years last week at the Valero Texas Open.
For 16 straight years, nobody not named Tiger has come from outside the top 10 after Round 1 to win which means the 2021 Masters champ would be one of the following.— Kyle Porter (@KylePorterCBS) April 9, 2021
There’s not a ton of names the casual golf fan would recognize on the leaderboard, but you’ll hear plenty about Will Zalatoris soon. The 24-year-old from Wake Forest has been a Korn Ferry Tour champion, and this course sets up perfectly for his game. His -2 shows he might be in contention here all week, and his sixth-place finish at the 2020 US Open shows he’s been in position before.