Masters Live Coverage Day 1: Leaderboard, Scores, Results at Augusta
First-round play has begun in the 75th Masters at Augusta National. We'll be here throughout Round 1 with scores, analysis and news from the year's first major.
Defending champion Phil Mickelson is the odds-on favorite to win, but picking any one player in a strong field of 99 golfers is difficult, at best.
The high ranking Europeans are all here, including Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell and the Molinari brothers, Francesco and Edoardo.
The young Americans are well represented, in Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson and Rickie Fowler, to name just a few.
But if you are seriously wondering who will win this golf tournament, it is a safe bet it will be someone who has done well on this course in the past.
Throughout its long history, the winners at Augusta are almost always players who know the course and have played it well in the past.
Mickelson and Tiger Woods head the list of players with great success at Augusta National. Other recent winners in the field include Zach Johnson, Angel Cabrera and Trevor Immelman.
And of course, you can never count out some of the older champions on this course. Some of the 45-plus group that you can't totally rule out include Fred Couples, Tom Watson, Jose Maria Olazabal and Vijay Singh.
If nothing else, the first round was kind to many in the field of 99 at the 75th Masters.
Led by Rory McIlroy's 65, 29 players sit under par and another 18 at even par. That is 47 (almost half) in the field no worse than even par, and all within seven off the lead. These are not quite the final numbers, as the final few groups are still on the course as I write this.
The conditions were optimal almost all day longer for scoring. As many good scores were posted late as they were posted early in the day.
Day two promises similar weather, although perhaps a bit warmer.
As play wraps on a Thursday evening in Augusta, here are the top six. Seven golfers share seventh place at -3.
Rory McIlroy -7
Y.E. Yang -5
Alvaro Quiros -5 (thru 16)
Matt Kuchar -4
Rickie Barnes -4
K.J. Choi -4 (thru 17)
Not that this is anything new, but watching Phil Mickelson kicking around the pine needles and wildflowers today at Augusta has made me a bit dizzy.
It has always been a trademark of Phil's to make the most out of an errant round. Day one at Augusta was just another good example of this.
Mickelson's scrambling ability has never been questioned, but it still always makes one wonder just how many majors this guy could have won if the driver hit more fairways over the years.
Hitting fairways and three-foot putts has cost him a handful of majors.
It is still early at the Masters, and much has yet to be decided. And I for one wouldn't count out this fellow come Sunday afternoon.
Here is hoping, however, that round two is a little less, well, unsettling?
The list of past winners in the field this year is not huge. And the list of those who actually have a shot at contending is even smaller. Yet, most of those fellows are fairing pretty well on the first day of the 75th Masters.
Woods finished his round at -1, although had a few putts dropped it could have been better.
Angel Cabrera, the 2009 champ, fired also fired a -.1 71.
Trevor Immelman, the 2008 champion shot a very nice -3 69.
Fred Couples is still on the course, but is having a nice round. He currently sit -2 through 15 holes.
Phil Mickelson, also still on the course, is currently at -1 through 14.
Sandy Lyle is the surprise player of the older champs. Lyle the 1988 winner, shot an impressive +1. With a good showing on Friday Lyle could play on the weekend. Lyle missed the cut last year but actually finished in a tie for 20th in 2009 at the age of 51.
Rory McIlroy and Y.E. Yang continue to lead the pack as the first day winds down in Augusta.
McIlroy fired a 65, -7. Yang still has two holes to play, but at the moment has pulled into a first round tie atop the leader board with McIlroy.
Yang, who won the PGA Championship at Hazeltine in 2009, defeating Tiger Woods in a come-from-behind victory in the final round, has been most impressive.
He has shot this great round with the firm greens and shadows of the afternoon.
Tomorrow, with even warmer temps possibly expected, Yang will get to go off early, which may give him a slight advantage at this point.
But it is still terribly early in the 75th Masters, and no reason to get too excited one way or the other. Players around even par are still very much in this tournament.
The cream has a way of rising to the top in this tournament.
Matt Kuchar is currently in third all by himself at -4. Several golfers find themselves at -3.
It is rare, but it can be done. Just ask Trevor Immelman, who led wire to wire in winning the green jacket in 2008, beating Tiger Woods by three shots.
The South African was the first player since Ray Floyd in 1976 to complete the wire to wire feat.
Rory McIlroy would like to be the second.
Although the first round is not in the books yet, it is starting to look like McIlroy will be the first-round leader with his stunning 65 at Augusta on Thursday (although Y.E. Yang is tearing it up on the back nine right now).
The 21-year-old, ranked ninth in the world, is not lacking confidence, and believes now it is his tournament to lose. Rory has tied for third at three of the last five majors. He is determined to climb to the top this week.
Rory told CBS he is in better shape to be able to win a major this time around. McIlroy fired a 63 in the first round to jump to the lead in the "Open" last July, only to shoot a 80 the next day at St. Andrews. Without that 80 on the card he probably would have won the Claret Jug.
"I feel like I'm better prepared to tee off in the second round of a major," he said. "I have that experience to draw on."
Tiger Woods' first round at The Masters is in the books. A 71 (36 - 35) -1.
Woods flirted with birdies on several holes, and saw a few putts skirt the edge of holes and not drop.
All and all Tiger felt quite good about his opening round.
In a post match interview CBS asked Tiger if he felt good about his round. He smiled and answered without hesitation, "Absolutely."
Tiger trails Rory McIlroy by six shots. McIlroy shot a stunning 65 on the opening day of the tournament.
Phil Mickelson., as I write this, got his first birdie of the day on number 8 after seven pars to start the day. Both Mickelson and Woods are currently in a tie for 22nd.
It is only the first day, but some name are up on the leader board at The Masters that perhaps you wouldn't expect.
The biggest name that jumps out at you would have to be one Sergio Garcia. Where did this come from?
Other names on the first page that slightly raise eyebrows include Brandt Snedeker, Camilo Villegas, Ross Fisher and Hiroyuki Fujita.
It would not be the shocker of all time if any of these players won, but they simply are not the ones we expect to see out front on this particular golf course.
Don't expect things to stay like this. The cream has a way of rising to the top at Augusta National. For one thing, the weather was almost perfect for scoring on Thursday. This does not figure to be the case all week, especially by Sunday when some interesting stuff might move into the area.
As far as Sergio Garcia, ever since he finished fourth in 2004, he has missed three cuts at the Masters and finished no better than 38th in the other three.
In the second to last group of the day, Phil Mickelson has finally started his first round. Kind of discouraging to be seven shots behind the club house leader before you even tee it up, but that is where Phil finds himself after Rory McIlroy's stirring -7 opening round.
Mickelson was looking forward to playing late on day one, however the optimal conditions for the opening round may have been early, when most of the good scores seem to have been posted.
Although it is warm in Augusta on Thursday, it isn't too hot where the greens would firm up considerably and scores would go way up. The late start shouldn't hurt Phil too much, although it probably isn't going to help him as much as he had hoped.
Mickelson is the defending champion and has won the title three times now. He is the odds-on favorite to repeat and grab green jacket No. 4.
Mickelson stands even par through his first two holes.
McIlroy leads at -7 and Retief Goosen in second at -5. Both are in the clubhouse. A handful of golfers sit at -3.
Tiger Woods looked good for the most part through the front nine However, once he made the turn, back-to-back bogies on 10 and 11 have slowed his round.
Woods, with a birdie on number six, went to the 10th hole -1. He left the 11th green +1.
Tiger also looked for a moment like it was going to be three consecutive bogeys, after putting his tee shot into the front bunker on the difficult par 3 12th. Woods was faced with about a 15-foot putt for par following his bunker shot, a putt that no one else on the course has made today.
Tiger drained it to stop the bleeding.
Woods has owned the 13th hole over the years, and as he plays it now he hopes to stop the bleeding and post at worst a birdie.
Rory McIlroy continues to lead the way, now -7. Retief Goosen has gotten it back to -5, and a host of golfers sit at -3.
The front nine at Augusta has been very accepting of good golf shots during the first half of day one.
Some very impressive scores have been posted thus far. Some of the better front nine's thus far:
Retief Goosen 31.
Rory McIlroy 32.
Charl Schwartzel 32.
Ross Fisher 33.
Matt Kuchar 33.
There is also a host of 35's and 36's among the early golfers on Thursday.
The key to a good round today seems to be shooting a nice score on the front nine, survive amen corner, and try to finish strong. The players should be on the alert when hitting the 17th, which has damaged more than a few rounds so far today.
As Retief Goosen and Rory McIlroy continue to impress in the first round of the Masters (both five under so far), some other surprise names adorn the top of the leader board.
England's Ross Fisher is already in the clubhouse at -3.
Brandt Snedeker is on his final hole of the day also sitting at -3. The 30-year-old Snedeker did not play last year, missed the cut in 2009, although did have an out of nowhere for third place finish in 2008.
Sean O'Hair and Camillo Villegas are both in the clubhouse after impressive first round scores of -2.
Young Japanese superstar Ryo Ishikawa (one of my picks to contend this week) is having a nice first round as well, and sits at -2 through 10 holes.
Ishikawa played in the last two Masters Tournaments, and missed the cut at both. This good start today will do wonders for his confidence here.
With the recent disaster in Japan, there would not be a better story than young Ryo donning the green jacket on Sunday.
Retief Goosen shot a 31 on the difficult front nine at Augusta, and McIlroy a nearly as impressive 32.
Goosen became the fifth player in Masters history to eagle the first hole, a par 4 455-yarder.
The South African added three more birdies to his card on the front side.
McIlroy managed four birdies without a slip on his front side.
Goosen missed the cut at the Masters in 2009 and last year tied for 38th last year. Goosen has never won at Augusta, but he does have two second place and two third place finishes.
The 21-year-old McIlroy has played at the Masters only two times previously. He finished in a tie for 20th in 2009, although he missed the cut last year.
Tom Watson's magical run at Turnberry a couple summers ago in the British Open has changed everyone's perspective on wondering just who can win major championships.
Granted, Watson ended up in second, losing in a playoff to Stewart Cink. But Tom proved that even at age 59, if it's the right player at the right time, anything is possible.
Something like what Watson did at Turnberry two years ago is unlikely to happen at the U.S. Open or the PGA Championship. But it certainly could happen again at an "Open" course, and it could, possibly, happen at Augusta National.
There are a few 50-plus past champions in the field that could make a little noise this week. Watson is one of those (although he fits into the 60-plus group). Another would be Fred Couples. Couples won his green jacket in 1992, but is coming off a very strong year on the Champion's Tour in 2010. He also did well in the PGA events he played in.
Nick Faldo, at 54, doesn't play a lot of competitive golf these day, but he knows how to win on this golf course. Faldo hasn't played since 2006, and hasn't made the cut since 2003. But, as Watson proved, you never know.
A quick start is crucial to success at a major. Very rarely can a player turn a tough first round into major championship success. This isn't to say it can't be done. Just make an already difficult task that much harder.
Although it is still early, Dustin Johnson is hardly lighting up Augusta National on day one.
Johnson is two over par as he heads to the difficult stretch of Amen Corner.
Dustin is one of the favorites this week at Augusta. Currently ranked 11th in the world, one has to wonder if Augusta National isn't perhaps not a course well-suited to him. Johnson is not the best "scrambler" on tour, and that is an area players need to do well at to succeed here.
In two previous starts at The Masters, Johnson finished in 38th (2010) and 30th (2009).
His game has been a bit up and down in 2011. He has three top finishes in eight tournaments, but also three missed cuts.
Tiger Woods' 17th Masters is underway, and he started it off the way every golfer wants to start the first hole of a major. With a par.
Woods has won four green jackets and has rarely played poorly at Augusta over the years.
In the previous 14 Masters (we'll take out his first two as a teenager) Tiger has, as mentioned, four wins, but also 11 top 10 finishes. In the last six years he has not finished outside of the top six.
Woods has not won, however, since 2005, which was the year of his epic, surprise duel with Chris DiMarco.
Despite only playing in four tournaments thus far in 2011, Woods has shown a great amount of confidence on the course this week, as well as in the media room for his press conferences. It should be noted Tiger had not played at all last year heading into the Masters, and still managed a fourth place finish.