ROUND 1 SCORES -7 Casey; -5 Simpson, Schauffele, Thomas (thru 10); -4 Matsuyama, Westwood, Oosthuizen, Reed, Woods, Wolff (thru 11), Scott (thru 10), Frittelli (thru 9). OTHERS -3 Rahm, Finau, Fowler (thru 11), D. Johnson (thru 9); -2 DeChambeau; -1 Mickelson; +2 Spieth, Koepka (thru 10).
He couldn’t – could he?
There are still three rounds to go but Tiger Woods’ Masters defence is off to an excellent start.
The 15-time major winner carded a bogey-free 68 to lie four-under after day one at Augusta National and just three shots behind early pace-setter Paul Casey.
After heavy rain forced a three-hour delay just 30 minutes into the tournament, Woods tied his lowest opening round at Augusta with a thoroughly dialled-in, controlled performance.
It was his first blemish-free round in a major since the opening round of the 2009 PGA Championship and only the fourth time in his career that he has played the first 18 holes of a major without dropping a shot.
Understandably, Woods was happy with his day’s work.
“I did everything well,” said the 44-year-old. “I drove it well, hit my irons well, putted well. The only real bad shot I hit today was I think on the eighth. Other than that, I just did everything well. The only thing I could say is that I wish I could have made a couple more putts.”
MASTERS PREVIEW POD FEAT. GARY PLAYER
As Woods’ goes for his 16th major title, Casey is still looking for his first. His seven-under 65 was his lowest opening round in a major in what is his 66th appearance in one of golf’s four marquee events.
With many players still to finish their first rounds due to the weather delay in the morning, Casey currently sits in the clubhouse with a two-shot lead.
“it was just very, very solid golf,” said the Englishman. “I did the right things when I needed to, and to be honest, you rarely walk off this golf course going, it could have been two or three better, but it kind of felt that way. I don't want to be greedy. I'm very, very happy with my 65.”
Amongst those still to finish their opening rounds are Justin Thomas, who is currently five-under ten, and grand slam-chasing Rory McIlroy, who is level-par through nine. Playing alongside McIlroy, world No.1 Dustin Johnson is three-under, as is Rickie Fowler, who has played 11. Brooks Koepka, meantime, is two-over through ten.