The azaleas were in full bloom and the sunshine was aplenty for day one of the 79th Masters Tournament. 21-year-old Jordan Spieth continued his incredible start to 2015, shooting an 8-under 64 to lead the field by three strokes.
There were plenty of compelling headlines – from Spieth’s incredible round to the anticipated return of Tiger Woods. Here’s five things that might have flown under the radar.
1. Tom Watson’s Still Got it.
At age 65, Watson fired a 1-under 71 for his lowest round at Augusta National since an opening 5-under 67 in 2010. Watson takes the record from Sam Snead, who shot 1-under 71 in the first round of the 1975 Masters at age 62. If Watson can back up his Thursday 71 on Friday, he’ll become the oldest player to make a 36-hole Masters cut.
2. The Old Guys Deliver
Watson wasn’t the only member of the old guard to bring it on Thursday. Ernie Els (45) shot a 5-under, Phil Mickelson (42) went 2-under and 2009 Masters champion Angel Cabrera (45) shot even par. The Big Easy has never won a green jacket, but does have two runner up finishes to his name.
3. International Flavor
It’s always interesting to see which countries are represented at the top of the leaderboard. Justin Rose (-5) hails from London. Ernie Els (-5) is South African born and raised. Jason Day (-5) is Aussie, Aussie, Aussie. Sergio ‘El Nino’ Garcia (-4) comes from Spain. All four golfers find themselves on the first page of the leaderboard after day one.
4. Patrick Reed’s Wild Round
Holy heck did Patrick Reed have an interesting time today. The 24-year-old shot a 2-under 70 today, but it’s the way he did it. The four time winner on tour had 6 birdies, 4 bogeys and 8 pars. All in days work for the big Texan, who’s six off the pace off his fellow statesman Spieth.
5. Tiger Woods Back Looks Just Fine
Did you see the violent cut Tiger Woods took from the rough on the par-4 7th hole? Woods hit a high cut over the trees and to the middle of the green. It took an absurd amount of club-head speed to generate the force needed for that shot. Tiger’s short game may not be 100 percent, but there’s no doubt his back is feeling fine, or else there’s no way he pulls this shot off.