Friday, April 06, 2018

Spieth sets Masters pace with a 66 while Sergio Garcia runs up an 81

Rory McIlroy opened with a three under par 69 at the Masters Tournament, leaving the Grand Slam-chasing Northern Irishman three shots off the lead of Augusta National specialist Jordan Spieth.
The four-time Major winner McIlroy would join an elite list of players to have claimed all four of the Major Championships if he were to earn a Green Jacket this week and, having won a first title in 18 months two weeks ago on the US PGA Tour, entered the week full of confidence.
Opening with a birdie, the 28 year old from Holywood, near Belfast had a steady if unspectacular front nine before birdies at the 13th and 15th, along with three crucial par saves in the final three holes, moved him into a share of fourth Jorposition.
He was joined there by fellow European Tour Members Rafa Cabrera Bello of Spain, Haotong Li of China, American Patrick Reed and Swede Henrik Stenson, among others, as 2015 Masters Champion Spieth put on another masterful display at the pristine Georgia venue to move two strokes clear on six under par 66.
The performance of the day from a European Tour Member came from Matt Kuchar, who was just two shots off the pace on four under par alongside Tony Finau of the USA after a stunning back nine which included five birdies.
Defending champion  Sergio Garcia had an 81
Player quotes:
Jordan Spieth
“If I look back on my highlights for the day, I'd say I had three of them. Two of them were bogeys and one was an eagle. My bogey save that I made on seven was a fantastic putt that kept it going, I saw a putt go in. It was a very difficult putt, and I could have dropped to over par, and it led to stepping on eight tee feeling regrouped.
“I hit two beautiful shots and made a three there, and then on 18 - unfortunately, I've had to do some interesting things on 18 in my career here. That was actually one of the more comfortable tee shots for me.
“I just wasn't very on it with the driver today, and I was playing a fade and just kind of got it there early. But it was a beautiful chip shot. I probably couldn't have got closer with a whole bucket of balls.”
Matt Kuchar
“It’s so exciting to be at the Masters, so exciting. Every year, I come looking forward to this week and every year you get such a buzz on the driving range, in the practice rounds, that you can't wait for golf to get going, and then finally Thursday comes around.
“I was just really excited to get the round going. I had some early nerves, but played some good holes early. I actually got pretty fortunate on the fourth hole to walk away with bogey. I made about a 15‑footer for bogey, and I felt like that kind of made things okay. I was staring a double‑bogey in the face and thought, this is going to be a rotten beginning to my Masters.
“But to make that putt, I thought, I'm still in it and I haven't kind of ruined a round. I played some pretty good golf, particularly from the eighth hole in.”
Rory McIlroy
“I made one mistake, the bogey on seven. But apart from that, I missed a couple of birdie chances early on, and I just told myself to stay patient out there. I think anything around 60 out there is a pretty good score.
“You look at it and not anyone is really getting away. Jordan had a pretty strong finish there. But this is my best start in a few years and it's such a hard golf course to play catch up on. If you start to chase it around here, that's when you start to make mistakes.
“But to be right up there and have the ability to stay patient, because of the position I'm in, that's a nice luxury I have over the next few days.”

Patrick Reed
“It's definitely a course I feel I can win on. Off the tees and some of the iron shots, it definitely seemed to fit my eye pretty well and that's key around here, just to get really comfortable on the shot you're trying to hit.
“Just one little mishap will definitely get you in the wrong spot and you can make a big number around here. I was able to avoid that today and just really got the putter kind of going today, whenever you can get that going, it definitely makes these fairways and greens look a lot bigger than they are.”
Henrik Stenson
“I think I managed my way around the this golf course pretty well today. I didn’t feel like I played my best, I didn’t have good enough stuff out there. I hit some little chips and came up pretty good on the greens and made a couple of nice putts for birdie on the fourth and the 11th.
“So I made longer putts for birdie and two-putted two par fives on the back nine, and then made a short one on seven. Anytime you shoot in the 60s on this course on a good condition day, you’ve got to be pleased with that.”
Rafa Cabrera Bello
“It was a rough start. Unfortunately I had a four-putt on five for a double-bogey. But fortunately or unfortunately, however you want to see it, it wasn't the first time that I had three‑putted from three feet here at Augusta. 
“I kind of told myself that putt could happen to anyone, but I hadn't really been playing bad the first few holes. The scoring was a bit unlucky. I just needed to hang in there, grind through the round, there would be some birdie opportunities.
“I made a really good putt on seven and that gave me a boost. And eight, I played it perfectly, I managed to birdie that as well. So it kind of felt like I was back in it. And I really stayed patient and played good golf. I gave myself several chances and was able to recover the ones when I got into a little bit of trouble. So I was very pleased with the round.”
par 72
66 J Spieth (USA)  
68 T Finau (USA) , M Kuchar (USA)
69 A Hadwin (Canada) , H Stenson (Swe) , C Hoffman (USA) , R Cabrera Bello (Spn) , H Li (Chins) , R McIlroy (N Ireland) , P Reed (USA)
70 R Fowler (USA) , P Mickelson (USA) , Z Johnson (USA) , B Wiesberger (Austria), M Leishman (Australia)
71 X Schauffele (USA) , S Kodaira (Jpn) , C Smith (Aus) , V Singh (Fiji) , L Oosthuizen (SAfr)
72 T Fleetwood (Eng) , F Molinari (Ita) , F Couples (USA) , J Rose (Eng) , K Stanley (USA) , C Schwartzel (RSA) , K Kisner (USA) , D Ghim (am) (USA)  
73 H Matsuyama (Jpn) , D Johnson (USA) , B Grace (SAfr) , T Woods (USA) , P Perez (USA) , D Berger (USA) , B Harman (USA) , B Watson (USA) , T Potter Jnr (USA) , J Dufner (USA) , T Pieters (Belgium) , J Walker (USA) , R Henley (USA)
74 P Casey (Eng) , A Noren (Swe) , S Lyle (Sco) , J Thomas (USA) , M Kaymer (Germany) , I Poulter (Eng) , B Langer (Germany) , A Cook (USA) , B Dechambeau (USA) , J Olazábal (Spn) , R Moore (USA) , W Bryan (USA) , T Hatton (Eng)
75 M Fitzpatrick (Eng) , D Willett (Eng) , J Rahm (Spn) , S Kim (S Korea) , P Cantlay (USA) , A Scott (Australia) , J Day (Australia). 
76 B Horschel (USA) , R Cabrera Bello (Spn) , B Steele (USA) , L Mize (USA) , M Weir (Canada) , W Simpson (USA) , Y Ikeda (Jpn) , C Reavie (USA) , P Kizzire (USA) , D Redman (am) (USA) , J Niemann (am) (Chile)  
77 K Chappell (USA) , S Sharma (India) , Y Miyazato (Jpn) , D Frittelli (SAfa) , J Vegas (Venezuela)  
78 T Immelman (SAfr) , G Woodland (USA) , R Fisher (Eng) , M O'Meara (USA)
79 K Aphibarnrat (Thailand) , I Woosnam (Wales) , Y Lin (am) (China)
81 S Garcia (Spn) , M Parziale (am) (USA)  
86 H Ellis (am) (Eng) 



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