Campbell leads low scoring at Masters
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2009 US Masters | Round One | 10 Apr 2009
Chad Campbell leads after the opening round of the 2009 Masters, his round of 65 perhaps not fully reflecting the quality of play he produced today. At one stage Campbell was not only threatening the Augusta National course record of 63 but when he moved to 9 under through 15 holes the opportunity existed to create a new major championship record round of 62.
He would however bogey the 17th after missing the fairway left and finding the front right greenside trap and then three putting from 40 feet at the 18th. Despite the final two holes it was a stunning turnaround for a player who has mosty struggled in the early stages of this season. Campbell’s best at Augusta in six starts has a third behind Phil Mickelson in 2006 and while it is early days yet, he has opened the door for something even better.
“Yeah, definitely happy the way the round started,” said Campbell after his round referring to his record five consecutive birdies to start.
“I got off on a roll, and it’s always nice to make a couple of birdies to start, much less five. It was definitely the way I wanted to start. I felt like I was hitting it good all day. I think one of most important things today was making those two saves on 10 and 11, the par saves there kind of kept the round going. Unfortunately I ended up with two bogeys to finish, but overall, pretty happy with the round.”
Campbell leads by one over Jim Furyk, who played amongst the morning tee times on day one and Hunter Mahan, the latter of whom recorded nine birdies in his opening round of 66 although a bogey at the last cost him a chance of sharing the opening round lead. Mahan will also rue a double bogey at the 11th after finding the water in a day of what might have been. In just his third Masters and after missing the cut in 2008 however he will be delighted with his start.
Furyk birdied four of his last five holes to finish with 66 and having missed only one of 12 cuts at Augusta he is well placed to not only continue that record but to perhaps challenge his previous best finish of 4th.
“I did some work with my clubmaker last week from Srixon and corrected a few things that I felt like would really help me this week, and today, a lot of hard work from him and then from myself working on my game,” said Furyk after his round. “I hit the ball very well today.”
“The key really was I hit a lot of really good iron shots and kept the ball in play with my driver. I made enough putts, but I hit a lot of really close shots on that back side. I had three birdie putts, I think, inside probably – well, I had two birdie putts inside three feet and I knocked it pretty close on 16. I didn’t have to knock in a bunch of bombs or anything to shoot the score I did. I just kept the ball in front of me very well.”
1987 champion, Larry Mize defied his age and perhaps even logic with a stunning opening round of 67 to be in a share of 4th with Japan star Shingo Katayama. 50-year-old Mize has not broken par in his last 20 rounds at the Masters and he has hardly been a standout to date in his Champions Tour career so this was an impressive day for him. Katayama’s effort was his first sub 70 score in 25 tournament rounds at Augusta National.
A large group are at 4 under 68 on a day where a record was set for the number of opening rounds of this event under par. 38 players completed the day in the red and amongst those at four under was the leading Australian Aaron Baddeley who had never previously broke par at Augusta. Baddeley birdied four of his last five holes, although he did drop a shot at the 16th to be in an eight way tie for 6th.
The next best of the Australians was Greg Norman who produced three birdies and one bogey for his round of two under 70 and a share of 20th.
“My whole objective today, like I’ve been saying is to come in here ask play solid and keep your expectations low,” said Norman. “The golf course obviously was totally different than what we had from Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and the whole idea for any player is really to get yourself off to a good, solid start. I did that today. I had a lot of opportunities, really could have shot a nice, mid‑60s score today. I didn’t. I’m not complaining.”
The cut at this stage, depending on weather conditions tomorrow, is expected to be at even par or perhaps one over and so all Australians have at least a chance of being around for the weekend. The weather on day two includes the possibility of rain but temperatures are expected to be in the mid 20’s.
New Zealander Danny Lee was hampered by frustration on the greens but he had 74 and at the age of 18 in his first Masters it was an impressive start to what will no doubt be a long and successful career in this event. For fellow countryman, Michael Campbell, his abysmal record in this event continued with an opening round of 80.
Tiger Woods worked his way back into contention after a slow start on day one when he moved to three under through 15 holes but he missed opportunities from short range at 16 and 17 and a wrong club which led to a bogey at the last, was the difference between a 67 and the eventual 70 that he recorded. Still for Woods he has never recorded a round in the 60’s on day one of this event and yet has four green jackets.
Amongst the other pre-tournament favourites Mickelson had 73 and Padraig Harrington 69.
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