Jon Rahm, of Spain, hits his tee shot on the fourth hole during the first round of the Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on Thursday, April 6, 2023, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The 2023 Masters: Round Two

Early April means a number of things, winter has finally ended, spring holidays, and the end of the school year approaches. For golf fans, however, early April only means one thing: The Masters. Magnolia Lane, pimento cheese, champions dinner, par 3 contest, green jacket. Everything done at the Masters is so unbelievably crafted and intentional it is the pinnacle of tradition. It may be as close as a golf course and sporting event can get to perfection.

Thursday

Round one kicked off on Thursday and the stories and leaderboard it has brought has been some of the best in several years. Scoring conditions were great, the greens were soft, wind was down, and pin placements were accessible. It was the perfect day to shoot a low round and get off to a fast start. That’s exactly what Jon Rahm,  Brooks Koepka and Viktor Hovland did. The three all shot an impressive seven under 65. Amateur Sam Bennett created some serious waves on Thursday also shooting the lowest front nine ever recorded by an amateur of 32 he finished the day four under in a tie for seventh.  Not all eyes are at the very top of the Leaderboard as household names Tiger woods and Rory McIlroy weren’t able to take advantage of the inviting conditions, shooting two over and even par respectively.

Jon Rahm

Rahm had one of the most interesting first rounds in Masters history on Thursday. He started his round with a green in regulation on hole one. He stared down a 35-foot birdie putt, which he then proceeded to four putt for a double bogey. Rahm then teed off hole number two a reachable par 5 at which he hit a slightly wayward tee shot that got a very fortunate bounce into the fairway. From that point out, it was near perfection. He birded hole two and finished nine under on his last 17, hitting an impressive 17/18 greens on his round. Rahm made history as he shot the lowest round ever recorded at the Masters after a double bogey on the first hole, needless to say he was very happy with his bounce back.

Brooks Koepka

Koepka was dialed in on Thursday with a great and steady round throughout, making eight birdies and only one bogey coming on the newly lengthened 545-yard par 5 13th. Koepka is looking to make a statement this week as this is the first time he’s been seen on the big stage since his LIV departure in June of 2022. Since then, he’s become the first player to win twice on the newly formed golf league. His most recent victory coming the week before the Masters at the LIV Orlando event played at Orange County National.

Despite his two recent wins, there were still questions surrounding Koepka heading into the Masters with injuries and his mindset after his recent role in Netflix’s Full Swing documentary. Koepka had missed the cut at the Masters largely due to injury, but Thursday’s performance seemed to silence any doubts about Koepka. Post-round Koepka  commented on his injures, saying he’s feeling good and healthy.

Tiger Woods

Golf’s most famous figure, Tiger Woods, was back in action on Thursday. The five-time Masters champion had a massive swell of patrons following him. Unfortunately, Woods was not able to capitalize on the inviting conditions early on. A cold putter led him to be three-over through seven holes. A nice bounce-back birdie on hole eight steadied the ship for Woods. He finished two-over playing his last 10 holes in even par. He currently sits in a tie for 54th, his worst start to a Masters since his very first appearance in 1995. It will be an uphill climb, but Tiger needs a good second round to have a shot of making the cut.

Lots of Golf Left

While speculation is at a peak after round one there is still lots of golf to be played. It truly could be anyone’s week with 54 holes remaining and names like Scottie Scheffler and Jordan Spieth lurking.

About Jared Civin

Check Also

Pat Dooley’s High Five: Solutions For Better Summer TV Viewing

Well, COVID is far from gone. I know because I tested positive Thursday morning. That’s …