Were you disappointed with Day 1 of the 2018 Masters? Was the thrill of stellar play felt throughout the day as you watched Augusta National give and take away strokes at will? I watched Amen Corner for most of the day and did not see any exciting shots except for Freddie Couples holing his sand shot on the 12th. Is it me or were most of the players playing a bit conservative in order to stay in contention for the weekend. Everyone except for Sergio Garcia that is!
Of course I am overstating the play on Thursday. Of course the players were playing a bit tight because Augusta National is no pushover. It can be a beast and if a player is not careful, they can play themselves out of contention very quickly.
Although Jordan Spieth crushed the first day, (birding 5 of the last 6 holes!) he played The Masters in the same form as his previous win; untouchable. There was no real weakness in his game and his putting was on fire. If this is the Spieth of old; he could very well go wire to wire. However, before we hand him another green jacket, lets not forget that many great players are within striking distance. Spieth will have to continue his strong play to keep the rampaging hordes at bay.
The reason I like to watch Amen Corner is because I study the course management through these three holes. With a par 4, 3, and 5 respectively, these few holes test the shot making skills of all the players. The key to success at Amen Corner is the tee shot. Not just keeping the ball in play is good enough on these holes, but club selection to make the right shot produced successes and failures. I am fascinated by their course management and hope I learn something again this year.
The first round of The Masters is not about taking risks, it is about playing smart and setting up a run on Saturday. Yes, moving day is where most of the contenders step up their game and take greater risks in order to catch the leader. However, as with all Majors, each round has its own unique ‘something’ that makes that day special. Yesterday, it was about playing smart and staying in contention.
Today is Day 2. We will see very much of the same, except some of the players who played well yesterday will struggle and others will play well. I expect to see players like Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, and Phil Mickelson to continue their solid play. I also expect to see Tiger play better and shoot under par. Day 2 is about setting up for the weekend and depending on where you are on the leaderboard will determine the risks you are willing to take. It should be fun to watch!
On a side note, I missed the honorary starters today and in case you did:
I am a grateful golfer! The Masters is awesome!