PERFECT WEATHER, SOFT CONDITIONS and pin placements that were generous by Augusta standards produced low scores and lots of roars on Day 1 at the 2009 Masters.
Chad Campbell opened with five consecutive birdies, a Masters record, en route to a 65 and the first-round lead. Jim Furyk hit all 18 greens in regulation and is one shot back at 66. Tiger Woods shot a 70 that left him a bit frustrated with his putting but well within striking distance.
And then there were the old guys, playing carefree golf like it was senior day at the local club.
Fifty-year-old Larry Mize fired a 67. Kenny Perry, who often skips Augusta, shot a 68. Greg Norman and Berhard Langer had 70s. Sandy Lyle shot a 72. Ben Crenshaw had 73.
I know what’s going to happen. Australian Greg Norman and Augusta native Larry Mize will finish in a tie atop the leaderboard. On the 11th hole in a sudden-death playoff, Mize will chip in from well off the green to win the Green Jacket. Norman will be crushed.
Oh, wait a minute. That was 1987. Nevermind.
MASTERS PRESS TENT
What they said on Thursday.
Chad Campbell: Like I said before, all I’m trying to do out there is hit one shot at a time. I know it’s kind of cliché, but it’s really all you can do, especially out here.
Jim Furyk: You have to be patient, and you just have to gut it out and get the ball in the hole as best you can and not really worry about it too much.
Greg Norman: I just came here with the total objective was, play well here, play the best I could. It’s only round one. I played well in round one.
Larry Mize: I did not imagine a 67. I came out hoping to play a good round.
Hunter Mahan: It was a perfect day, perfect day to score.
Padraig Harrington: I would have taken it going out, so I am satisfied, yes. Thursday is all about staying in the tournament.
−The Armchair Golfer