Thursday, April 8, 2010

2010 Masters, 1st Round - Couples, Watson Turn Back Clock

It appears that 60 is the
new 50 and 50 is the new 40, at least today anyway during the 1st round of the 2010 Masters. Fred Couples, feeding off the momentum of three consecutive Champions Tour wins, leads the pack after a smooth 66. Ageless Tom Watson with a 67 was the clubhouse leader until Couples' gem. Also finishing with 67s were Phil Mickelson, Lee Westwood, YE Yang, and KJ Choi. Tiger Woods broke 70 for the first time in his Masters opening round with a -4, 68. Joining him in the log jam for 3rd were Ricky Barnes, Anthony Kim, Ian Poulter, and Nick Watney. Full Field 1st Round Scores.

Except for some midday wind Augusta National was relatively benign today. A line of encroaching thunderstorms miraculously passed the course by and spared a delay. The tees were moved up for the most part and moisture allowed the greens to be receptive, at least as receptive as one could expect at Augusta. Sun is forecast for the remaining three days and drying will radically change the nature of the course. Proof of that is 31 players scoring under par today.

Woods' reception was fairly warm. After carding his 68 I'm sure he realized that resuming his career here was a good idea.  Playing in his group wasn't a hindrance to his playing partners. In fact KJ Choi's 67 bested Woods and Matt Kuchar shot a -2, 70 to be in the hunt. Having the first round out of the way was a huge step in Woods' personal recovery effort.

The real story here though was Couples and Watson. This Average Golfer can't wait for the second round to see if they can continue their excellent play. Watson especially, playing on a 7,400 yard behemoth is proof that golf savvy and course knowledge can overcome distance.  Being north of 50 myself only reinforces my rooting for either of them to be a factor on Sunday. Let it unfold.....

Til' next,

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