The green jacket will be awarded at the Masters Sunday, but the field has to be trimmed with the cut before we get to weekend play and the crowning of a champion.
The magic number at Augusta in years past when it came to the cut was 44th place (or within 10 shots of the lead), but the tournament extended the cut line before the 2013 competition. Now, as long as golfers are within 10 shots of the lead or tied for 50th place or better, they will be playing on the weekend.
More golfers on the course for the third and fourth rounds means more Masters golf, and it’s hard to argue with that.
The entire Masters scoreboard after the first round can be found here.
ESPN Golf let fans know who was near the top of the leaderboard after early play. Adam Scott certainly impressed with a three-under 69:
While Scott is clearly safe from the cut if he continues to play at his torrid pace, there are a number of notable names who could be in trouble at the end of Round 2 Friday. It is worth keeping in mind, though, when projecting the cut score, that the course certainly played to high scores Thursday. After all, only four golfers broke 70 on the day.
Looking forward, the thought here is that the cut line will be a better score than the two-over and three-over par range than it is after Round 1. There are a number of golfers who are tied for 39th-place at two-over 74 and a handful more who are tied for 53rd-place at three-over 75.
Therefore, the projected cut here is one-over par after two rounds. The weather is projected to be favorable, and there should be more low scores on the golf course than there were during Round 1 Thursday. What's more, the first-round jitters that are undoubtedly there for every player at the Masters will have faded away, and there will be more familiarity.
One superstar who flirted with the cut line in the early going was Phil Mickelson.
The lefty posted a triple bogey on hole No. 7 and was three-over par through nine holes. However, as ByTheMin Golf and Amanda Balionis of PGATour.com pointed out, Mickelson bounced back quickly:
Who all thought Phil The Thrill was out of it after taking a treble on 7? We all did! But it's a marathon not a sprint, he's back to +1— ByTheMin Golf (@ByTheMinGolf) April 10, 2014
annnd Phil being Phil.. after a triple on 7... bounces back with a bomb of a birdie on 10. he looked as shocked as anybody— Amanda Balionis (@Amanda_Balionis) April 10, 2014
Still, Mickelson has some work to do Friday if he wants to play on the weekend after registering a double bogey on No. 15 and shooting a four-over 76 on the day.
Other notable players who are near the projected cut line are Jim Furyk, Vijay Singh, Jason Day, Ernie Els and Ian Poulter.
Perhaps the most disappointing first round came from Dustin Johnson. There are few golfers on the entire PGA Tour who have been playing better golf than Johnson in the early going this season, and many thought he would compete for his first ever major at Augusta. He will have to make up serious ground on the leaders though, if he plans on doing that after shooting a five-over 77 Thursday.
The looming cut line should be of more immediate concern for Johnson instead of the top of the leaderboard.
The top of the leaderboard is where Bill Haas finds himself after shooting a four-under 68. Haas will have to hold off Scott and Bubba Watson, among others, if he wants a green jacket.
Scott told reporters that he enjoyed the reception he received as the defending champion, via Bob Harig of ESPN.com:
It was a thrill, really. The reception into every green and almost every tee box was incredible, and the best one, the memory that will stick with me forever, was walking up the 12th tee and everyone getting out of their seats as I approached there. It was great.
Will Adam Scott win another Masters?
Ironically, Scott hit the ball in the water on 12, which was the only real issue with his entire round.
While Scott and others battle for positioning near the top of the leaderboard, the major storyline on Friday will be the looming cut. Tune in to see whether Mickelson and others will be playing on the weekend.
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