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The Masters 2014: Projecting How Struggling Stars Will Rebound on Day 2

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The Masters 2014: Projecting How Struggling Stars Will Rebound on Day 2
David J. Phillip

Augusta National is an unforgiving course and often times can swallow up some of golf's biggest stars. 

On Thursday's first round of the 2014 Masters, guys such as Phil Mickelson, Jason Day and Sergio Garcia struggled out of the gate and now face an uphill battle on Day 2. 

Let's take a look at some of golf's superstars who struggled on Thursday and how they can bounce back on Friday. 

 

Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Phil Mickelson

Current Standing: T-67 (+4)

Lefty literally had the worst first day of his career at Augusta on Thursday. Justin Ray of ESPN reported that Mickelson's 76 tied his career-low mark for opening days at the Masters set back in 1997. That was the only year Mickelson didn't make the cut. 

After shooting for par on the first six holes, Lefty fell victim to a triple-bogey on the seventh, setting the stage for an up-and-down day. He birdied the 10th and 13th holes before bogeying the 14th and double-bogeying the 15th. 

Kelly Tilghman of the Golf Channel tweeted that Mickelson was particularly disappointed with his outing. 

At last year's Masters, he was one under par and shot an even score on the three holes he bogeyed this year. That could indicate that today's showing was an anomaly and that Mickelson is simply due for a bounce-back day on Friday. 

Lefty is on the fringe of making the cut right now as he sits eight shots off the lead of Bill Haas. But you have to think that either Haas or second-place Adam Scott will improve their scores on Friday. That means Mickelson has to at least shoot even to stand a chance of making the cut. 

A good sign for Lefty is that, although he did shoot a career high, he still made 12 greens in regulation. That ranks 18th among the field. So improving his putting will be the best step that Mickelson can take. 

Expect Lefty to rebound from his tough Day 1 and make the cut on Day 2. 

 

Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Keegan Bradley

Current Standing: T-53 (+3)

The 18th-ranked golfer in the world, per Official World Golf Ranking, sure didn't look like it on Thursday.

He started off the day on the wrong foot with a double-bogey on the first hole. He finished the front nine three over par, then went even on the back nine with three birdies, three pars and three bogeys. 

Last year, Bradley's strong finish down the stretch on Day 2 kept him in the hunt, as he shot two under par on the final 10 holes, per Yahoo! Sports

That first hole has routinely caused problems for Bradley though. He's seven over par on his last five cracks at it. If Bradley can simply get off to a better start by even just parring that hole, it should set the stage for him to make the cut. 

Like Mickelson, Bradley made 12 greens in regulation, so the best thing for him to do is improve his putting on Friday. He should be able to do that now that he has Day 1 under his belt and thus make the cut. 

 

Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Sergio Garcia

Current Standing: T-40 (+2)

If you're looking for a model of inconsistency from Day 1, Garcia is your guy. He shot a 74 after racking up six bogeys, four birdies and eight pars. 

Garcia was sitting pretty at one under par through 13 holes on Thursday. But three bogeys down the stretch put a damper on Garcia's status as a contender. 

But if there's somebody you can't count out of any major, it's Garcia. 

What was promising about Garcia's showing on Day 1, and is something of a trend for the Spaniard, was his performance on par fives. He shot two under par on the four par fives at Augusta on Thursday. According to John Antonini of the Golf Channel, Garcia has shot 23 under par on par fives over the last three Masters. 

If Garcia can even himself out on the other holes, those par fives could put him back into contention. 

However, you can't be as erratic as Garcia was on Thursday and expect to even make the cut. He made just 10 greens in regulation, so the fact that he's only two over par is lucky to say the least. 

It's going to be hard for Garcia to make such a drastic improvement over one day, so expect him to be on the outside looking in come cut time. 

 

Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Jason Day

Current Standing: T-53 (+3)

Holes 8-11 couldn't have gone worse for Day. 

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After shooting a 1-under through the first seven holes, Day bogeyed the eighth and ninth holes, double-bogeyed the 10th then bogeyed the 11th, putting him at four over par. A birdie on the 17th hole helped salvage the day a little, but Day still has plenty of work to do. 

Last year, Day was in the Masters lead on the final day before two bogeys on the final three holes ended the Aussie's bid for a green jacket. 

The good thing this year is that Day's collapse came on Day 1 and not Day 4. First-half mistakes are always easier to correct than second-half ones. If Day can just learn from his tribulations on Day 1 and attack Augusta with some confidence and aggressiveness on Day 2, he should be fine. 

Day has a thing for the dramatics. He constantly goes up and down over the course of tournaments, especially the Masters. It's tough to imagine a bad stretch like he had on the middle holes on Thursday happening again on Friday, so Day should be in the hunt come Saturday. 

 

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