Unlike last year, when the Masters was held in November, a firm run from Augusta National has fired back, punishing many golfers in the first round, although Rose had six birdies out of the last nine.
AUGUSTA, Georgia - A golf course is not ofsensations.
Or is it?
This would be the simplest way to explain the revenge of the Augusta National Golf Club. on the field in the first round of the Masters tournament on Thursday, after the course was routed by several of the same players last year.
Five months ago in November, a month when Augusta National usually wakes up in good spirits, the best golfers in the world have arrived to play the Masters 2020 , delayed by the coronavirus pandemic. The course was drowsy and poorly prepared, especially since it was good and rainy the night before the event started.
The golf elite did not take pity on the venerable, so vulnerable, aristocrat of the greatin championship golf courses. Dustin Johnson's score of 20 under par was a tournament record, and 43 players finished under par.
Apparently Augusta National has a good memory. In the first round of the 2021 Masters, the course was awake, ready and itching for retaliation.
When the final shot was struck on Thursday, Justin Rose was the highest o with a sparkling seven under par 65, which included six birdies of the nine last. That score puts him in the lead, with four strokes ahead of Brian Harman and Hideki Matsuyama who are tied for second after tying scores of 69.
But only 11 other players were under par, and Rose, Harman and Matsuyama were the only golfers to beat 70. Compare that to the first round in 2020, when a tournament record 24 players scored ins the 60s and a whopping 53 were below par. Image Hideki Matsuyama on the 17th tee. He completed the first round with a triple under par 69. Credit ... Doug Mills / The Hfrance.fr
Perhaps the peloton should have been warned on Tuesday when Fred Couples, the 1992 Masters champion competing in his 36th Masters, said. 'Augusta National conditions were the most difficult he had seen in decades. Asked about the greens, which have been drying out all week, Couples replied, "If they get firmer, watch out.
The prophecy, aided by swirling winds, came to life around the field on Thursday. Jordan Spieth, a former Masters winner, was on a run to the top of the table in the middle of his lap until a wandering tee shot on the ninth par 4 hole, followed by a shot from recovery that ricocheted off a tree, ultimately led to a three putts and a screaming triple bogey. Spieth rallied with an eagle on the 15th hole and back-to-back birdies on the 16th and 17th holes, to finish with an ununder par 71, which left him tied for eighth.
The reign United States Open Champion Bryson DeChambeau shot a four on par 40 on the first nine, then had a top-to-bottom final nine. His four over par 76 left him tied for 60th place.
After his round, DeChambeau had a complaint shared by golfers who have yet to master Augusta National intricacies, including having to hit shots approaching a downhill lie to an uphill green. Asked how often he sees such a snap on the P.GA Tour, DeChambeau replied, “Not very often, just in Augusta. This is why I have no problem anywhere else. " Image Rory McIlroy had an eventful first lap and finished with a quadruple by 76. Credit ... Curtis Compton / Atlanta Journal-Constitution, via Associated Press
Rory McIlroy, who needs a Masters title to complete the Grand Slam in career of the four major golf championships, shot a four on the eventful par 76. McIlroy didn't just have six bogeys, he also hit his dad, Gerry, in the back of the leg with a finicky second shot on the seventh hole.
Elder McIlroy appeared to be fine, walking away after his son's golf ball took him off. Afterward, McIlroy said he was targeting his father because he was standing well. Gerry McIlroy later joked that he wanted an autograph from Rory, which is a usual thing for a player to give a fan who is hit by a gunshot.
"I think he just needs to go put some ice cream on it," Rory said, referring to his father with a smile. . "Maybe I'll autograph a bag of frozen peas for her.
Rose opened her tour with a 35 below par on the nine before, but then blitzed the closing holes with birdies at the 10th and 12th holes, two of Augusta National 's biggest challenges. Rose birdied the two par 5s on the back nine, as well as the dreaded 16th par 3 and 17th par-4 hole.
His performance was particularly impressive as he had not played a competitive round of golf for a month, having retired from Arnold Palmer Invitational in early March with ath back injury. In the end, the layoff may have been beneficial in a number of ways. On the one hand, this lowered Pink's expectations for masters, he acknowledged it Thursday night.
"You can just shy away from the instincts a bit," said Rose, the 2013 US Open champion. " Obviously, I've been to these big tournaments a few times, and have one in my name, but we're looking for more.
He also took advantage of his free time to spend more time working with his former swing trainer Sean Foley, who Rose reunited with late last year. The first two started working together in 2009 and had a brief and recent separation, which is common in the world of golf.
"Everything I 've accomplished in the game of golf , I did it with Sean by my side, "Rose said, adding," I wasa bit late with my own game until 2019, and I think the lockdown, just being on my own for a bit too long was probably not a good thing.
"So it's great to be back with Sean, and I trust him implicitly. He knows what works for me and my game. ”
Four players were five shots behind Rose at two under par: Patrick Reed, Webb Simpson, both former major champions, and Will Zalatoris and Christiaan Bezuidenhout.
"With the difficulty we had there today, with the firmness and speed of this place and the wind that stood up, "Reed said. “I'll definitely take a two under par. ”
Simpson echoed Reed's sentiments.
"The guys are going to shoot themselves out of the towerWe did golf on day 1 under these conditions, "he said." I knew it would be difficult today, but I had no idea we would be dealing with gusts like we were. So I was very happy with my score.
"I think it's been at least five years since I last remembered it being this company, this rough . But it's also fun. This golf course is more fun that way because you really have to think about it, you really have to use the trails. Otherwise, you can get into really bad places. "