Thursday, April 11, 2019
AUGUSTA, GA (WRDW/WAGT) -- Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka were in the final groups that took the course at Augusta National on Thursday afternoon.
By all accounts, they took full advantage of the late day with each holding a six under lead heading into round two of the Masters.
Both men dominated the back nine late Thursday with DeChambeau, who finds himself tied with Koepka on the Leader Board, grabbing six birdies to Koepka's five.
"What a magical back nine," DeChambeau said. Wind started to pick up, right around Amen Corner, and it was tough. It was not easy one bit. But we just stuck to what we knew we should have done, and we did, and was able to execute a beautiful 9‑iron on 12 that kind of jump started my back nine, hitting it to five feet, making that putt got me rolling."
Koepka, meanwhile, is not paying attention to DeChambeau or Phil Mickelson -- his two main competitors on the Leader Board late Thursday.
"I'm not playing with them, so I don't really see them. I don't know. I can only watch Paul Casey and Jordan Spieth play golf. Can't really watch anybody else. I have a hard enough time doing that as it is," Koepka said. "I'm focused on what I've got to do."
With the Leader Board now clear for the day, let's take a look around the course.
Phil Mickelson, now here's a guy who's enjoying himself
Phil Mickelson is going to be a fan-favorite whenever he plays, but he seemed to be enjoying himself on the course.
"It was a lot of fun," Mickelson said. "And it's fun to finish off the round. It's fun to make a good par save on 17 and birdie the last. It's fun to finish a good round off rather than leak one here or there coming in. So it was a good day.
Finding himself at No. 3 after shooting 67 on the day, Mickelson's also feeling pretty good about his chances -- especially after he had some trouble on No. 10 and his ball went for a drink on No. 11.
"It looked like after bogeying 10 and 11 that that's not ‑‑ that would kill some momentum. It was the other way around, because I made two great bogeys that should have and could have been doubles. After going in the water at 11 to hit that close and have an easy bogey and then to make a 6‑footer for bogey on 10 after a terrible drive, those were almost momentum maintainers, if you will, that kept me in it," Mickelson said.
Tiger's happy, but focused on the magic number 70.
Just before 4:30 p.m., Tiger Woods finished up his first round at the Masters just two under par and one under sharing the lead.
The four-time champ sucked up most of the attention Thursday morning and early afternoon even as the lead featured three others on top of the Leader Board: Justin Harding, Adam Scott, and Jon Rahm all at three under.
Still, Woods seemed to like what he saw on the National.
"I felt like I played well and I did all the things I needed to do today to post a good number. I drove it well, hit some good iron shots, speed was good on the greens," Woods said.
But there appeared to be a little bit of superstition on Woods' part after realizing he'd won the Masters four times by hitting 70. Woods' total today? 70.
"I've only shot like under 70 one time, but I've shot 70 the four times that I have won here," Woods said. "So we still have a long way to go. Tee off late tomorrow and the wind's supposed to be up, so I have my work cut out for me the rest of the week and so does everyone else."
Justin Harding is not getting worked up
Atop the Leader Board early in the day, Augusta first-timer Justin Harding is having a great start to the Masters with three under par. But he didn't let it get to his head.
"I'll take it and run if I can -- we're not allowed to run here at Augusta -- but I'm pleased," Harding joked. "It's one of those where I gave myself a couple chances, I didn't feel like I took great advantage of the par-5s."
Still, Harding knows he's playing well recently and is looking to take some of that momentum into the second round.
"Not really getting too worked up, no longer going through the highs and lows of emotions. And, yeah, just ultimately trying to execute some golf shots. And the putter's pretty good, if I read them right, I think give them a good roll and hopefully they will go in. It's one of those weird ones, golf is purely momentum-based," Harding said. "If you take enough confidence into the rounds then you're bound to play well just pretty much need to get out of your own way."
Patrick Reed is enjoying his first time back after last year's win
Finishing up one over in the first round at the National, 2018 Masters champion Patrick Reed is happy to be back out on the course.
Reed said he did feel more nervous than he expected, but the nerves calmed after getting out of the first tee.
"I felt it off the first tee, didn’t really feel it on the iron shot but the ball just wasn’t sitting the greatest in the bunker," Reed said. "Once I made the putt for par on the first I was back to normal. From there it's let's just go out and play golf."
Reed admitted to having an up-and-down type of day, though.
"I felt like the ball-striking was a little loose," Reed said. "I felt like all in all my putting -- I felt like my short game was where it needed to be, I just kept -- even if you hit quality golf shots here, if you miss it by a foot one way or the other, you’re leaving yourself a very hard next shot. And I had a couple of shots like that, and hit a couple of shots that the wind changed or had a poor swing. And you do that, and it's very hard to get yourself really well. Just need to tighten it up a little on the full swing and I’ll be alright."
Adam Scott is having his best round in 5 years
Adam Scott seems pretty pleased with round one considering he has the self-assessment of a "slow starter."
"Certainly the last 10 years, I don't jump out of the gates, it seems," Scott said. "So I don't know if this is jumping out of the gates, but it certainly is great."
Scott is mostly crediting his patience and self-confidence to give himself a big boost out of round one.
"I don't really have like the results to be screaming that I'm the most confident player here, but I certainly, I know where and when my game is coming into really good shape and I can see it coming back and I think I got some good confirmation today with some solid ball striking, which is, which has been coming this year, it hasn't been bad by any means, but I, when I strike it really well I think I strike it with the best of them and I hit a lot of greens and that showed up today," Scott said.