Bounce-back birdie for Tiger! He sends his second at 2 into the sand guarding the front left of the green, then splashes out to three feet. In goes the putt, and he’s back to +1 in short order. It won’t surprise you to hear that the gallery following the five-time champion looks about 20 deep in some places. Thoughts and prayers go out to Kevin Kisner, very much the bridesmaid in this arrangement today. For the record, he’s matched Tiger shot for shot so far, bogey then birdie, and he’s +1 as well.
Augusta National was once a mother field, of course, until Bobby Jones, Clifford Roberts and Alister Mackenzie realized their dream. Now look. Such a task may seem daunting, but that’s not put off Dan Davies, whose nascent RNGC “is a ridiculous, homemade homage to the par-three course at Augusta, albeit with many more opportunities for Tony Finau to pop his ankle”. Read on and enjoy!
Oh Rory! How could we ever have doubted you! He sends his tee shot at the par-three 4th straight at the flag, but the best part of 40 feet short. No matter! He sends a tramliner into the cup for birdie, to repair the damage of that opening bogey. He’s back where he started the day at +2.
Tiger is out and about. Love him or obsess about him, the man is box office. He stripes his first tee shot of the day straight down the track, then knocks his second onto the green, albeit a good 50 feet to the right of the flag. He spends a good couple of minutes prowling around, sizing up all the undulations. He’s surprisingly unsuccessful in his calculations: the pace is fine, but the ball breaks a good ten feet to the left of the hole. He’s now got some work for his par. He can’t make it, and slips back to +2. Meanwhile here’s some rather more successful Fast Start News: birdie for Sergio Garcia at 1, he’s +1 overall, and birdie for Jon Rahm at 2, he’s +1 as well.
Unsurprising News dept. Rory McIlroy feels his opening tee shot into the woods down the right of Tea Olive, en route to bogey. He’s since missed a birdie opportunity from ten feet on 3. He’s +3, and those career slam dreams look more and more fanciful as the years go by. On that subject, here’s Steve Buist: “It pains me to say this but I fear Rory has become a head case. I like the guy immensely but I predict he’ll never win another major. Something’s not logged in his noggin. But he owes me nothing. Back in 2011, I was on a golf holiday to Scotland and popped in to a Coral’s in Troon and bet on Rory to win the US Open – when he was leading by 10 strokes or something like that. He held on and I won 86p. I think the Coral’s had to close after that payout.”
Here we go, then. Moving Day! And of the early starters, only one man is currently better than one under for his round. Step forward Marc Leishman. The 38-year-old Aussie has three top-ten finishes at Augusta on his CV, the latest being a tie for fifth last year. He also jointly holds the Masters record for lowest cumulative score on the par fives in one tournament, playing them in 15 under par in 2020. Birdies at 2 and 8 today, and he’s hitting the turn in 34. He’s +2 overall.
There’s only one place to start.
It’s Moving Day! Can anyone hunt down Scottie Scheffler? Will he extend his lead? Will he fall back into the pack? We’ll find out soon enough! Here’s what the top of the leader board looks like …
-3: Schwartzel, Im, Lowry, Matsuyama
-2: Varner III, D Johnson, Na, Smith
-1: Conners, Morikawa, Zalatoris, Willett, Niemann, Thomas
E: Bezuidenhout, Fitzpatrick, Spaun
+1: Simpson, Cantlay, Kisner, Woods
+2: MacIntyre, Westwood, Watson, Garcia, Hatton, Rahm, McIlroy, Straka, Swafford, Higgs, Kim, Kokrak, Gooch, Berger, Finau
… here are some big names who have missed the cut …
Jordan Spieth, Brooks Koepka, Xander Schauffele, Gary Woodland, Justin Rose, Bryson DeChambeau, Sam Burns, Padraig Harrington, Zach Johnson, Mike Wear, Stewart Cink, Bernhard Langer, Francesco Molinari, Freddie Couples, Larry Mize, Jose Maria Olazabal, Sandy Lyle and all the amateurs
…and here’s when everybody’s teeing off. (USA unless stated, all times BST, -a- denotes amateurs). We’ll get going here at 6pm BST. It’s on!
15.20 Mackenzie Hughes (Can), Adam Scott (Aus)
15.30 Viktor Hovland (Nor), Min-Woo Lee (Aus)
15.40 Marc Leishman (Aus), Seamus Power (Ireland)
15.50 Cameron Davis (Aus), Lucas Glover
16.00 Tommy Fleetwood (Eng), Max Homa
16.10 Tom Hoge, Billy Horschel
16.20 Russell Henley, Patrick Reed
16.30 Cameron Champ, Tony Finau
16.40 Daniel Berger, Talor Gooch
17.00 Si Woo Kim (Kor), Jason Kokrak
17.10 Harry Higgs, Hudson Swafford
17.20 Rory McIlroy (NIrl), Sepp Straka (Aut)
17.30 Tyrrell Hatton (Eng), Jon Rahm (Spa)
17.40 Sergio Garcia (Spa), Bubba Watson
17.50 Robert MacIntyre (Sco), Lee Westwood (Eng)
18.00 Kevin Kisner, Tiger Woods
18.10 Patrick Cantlay, Webb Simpson
18.20 Matthew Fitzpatrick (Eng), JJ Spaun
18.40 Christiaan Bezuidenhout (Rsa), Justin Thomas
18.50 Joaquin Niemann (Chi), Danny Willett (Eng)
19.00 Collin Morikawa, Will Zalatoris
19.10 Corey Conners (Can), Cameron Smith (Aus)
19.20 Dustin Johnson, Kevin Na
19.30 Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn), Harold Varner III
19.40 Sung Jae Im (Kor), Shane Lowry (Irl)
19.50 Scottie Scheffler, Charl Schwartzel (Rsa)