Spieth in his comfort zone, leads by two strokes at Masters

Tyler Owen
April 7, 2018

Quite simply, the best player in the world so far this season looks a banker here, against an amateur and the man sitting second last after round one.

His effort overshadowed Woods' eagerly-awaited return to the Augusta fairways - not that the 14-time Major champ saw much of them.

Well, not exactly. If it were that simple, Garcia might have a lot more prized possessions in his display case than the green jacket he won in a memorable back nine charge previous year that included an eagle on the par-5 15th hole.

He drained the putt for a huge eagle to move to 2 under. After what Garcia did at 15 - he made, get this, a 13! - it's a little tight through the shoulders and, to be honest, the neck. When Garcia's final wedge landed within a few feet of the hole, he tidied up for that 13.

His score on the 15th tied the course record for shots on a single hole and set the record for the highest score on No. 15. He was under par one only one hole.

Quick question: If a double-eagle like Sarazen had in '35 is also called an albatross, what do you call an octuple bogey? He would not be human if he didn't mutter some unprintable oaths in Spanish, but we will cut him a break for being a stand-up guy.

"I didn't capitalize on some putts that I've been making", Mickelson said. I feel like - I don't know.

Woods might be right about one thing.

So there was another 13, Sergio? Nearly all of the rest of us would have picked up before we splashed five straight balls - mostly because we usually are not playing in a real tournament, and also because we pay for our golf balls and to us they are expensive. He is one of seven players tied for fourth place after round one. He opened with a 65 in 2011 but threw away a comfortable lead that year with a final-round 80.

Woods was pleased with his scrambling on a day when he sprayed his ball into the spectators, the trees, the pine-straw and every other no-go area on the course. And it proves the well-worn theory that golf will humble even the very best. Come to think of it, this green jacket isn't tailored correctly.

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Garcia was not playing great to that point in the round, 2-over through 14 after a bogey. "Otherwise it's just short right of the green, an easy up and down from there".

But the ball refused to hold, tumbling down the sloped front of the green and then down the shaved bank into the drink like a downhill skier.

Spieth says his putting stroke and iron play are approaching the levels that have also won him U.S. Open and British Open titles. "Straight at the flag".

"I felt like I putted well, but I didn't putt amazingly well".

"If it carries probably two more feet, it's probably good", Garcia said. "I got a standing ovation on the range".

Rinse. Repeat. Rinse. Repeat. "With the round he's posted, the quality of golfer he is, he's on some similar form.

And I hit some good shots early, unfortunately they just didn't continue". "The ball just wouldn't stop". Garcia hit his second shot into the Par-5 short in the water. He parred in from there for a 9-over 81, the worst first-round score for any defending (defenseless, in this case?) Masters champion.

Woods said he remained in the hunt.

"I gotta go with the seventh", one caddie told ESPN.com's Michael Collins when asked which hole on the course played the most different from the practice rounds.

Four-time champion Tiger Woods returned to Augusta National with a one-over 73.

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