With day one in Augusta in the books, we’ve learned a few things.
For one the National is playing more like Augusta in spring. After surrendering tons of low scores back in November the old course has some of its trademark teeth back. Just ask Im Sung-Jae, Who was about six yards over the par 5 15th green in two shots but walked off with a 9. Or Bryson DeChambeau, who has beaten other golf courses into submission in the past year but was defeated yesterday by a course laid out almost a century ago by an Atlanta lawyer and a wily Scotsman.*
But I can tell you who had a fairly enjoyable Thursday in Augusta: the Georgia Bulldog contingent. Brian Harman shot a tidy 69 to finish tied for second behind Justin Rose, whose seven under 65 was easily the class of the field. He’s joined in the top 20 after day one by Kevin Kisner (E, T13th), Hudson Swafford and Brendan Todd (+1, T20th). Harris English and Bubba Watson are a shot back from there, tied for 30th at two over, meaning that all six of the Bulldogs in the field find themselves comfortably within the weekend cut line. And that’s a Bulldog point of pride.
Friday is the day for golfers to position themselves for the weekend, and it could get interesting with showers expected this afternoon in east Georgia. That could slow the greens down a little and keep some shots in play.
Can anyone catch Rose, whose four shot lead is the biggest first round advantage in a recent Major? The odds are pretty good. Rose has held the first round lead at Augusta three times before and doesn’t have a win to show for it (though he had finished runner up twice). Harman in particular came into this week with a lot of momentum and is playing perhaps as well around the greens as he has in his career.
Television coverage today begins as it did yesterday at 3:00 pm on ESPN, but if you’ve downloaded the Masters app you’ll find more coverage there than you can shake a pimento cheese sandwich at. Until later...
*The lawyer also played a lot of golf and was named Bobby Jones.