2020 just couldn’t let us have nice things, at least not without making sure we remember who is really in charge. Thanks to a weather delay early in the first round, we were unable to finish the first round but let’s check in and see where our 10 stand after Thursday:
Cantlay: 2-under through 9
Great start for Cantlay, and due to where he finished, will get to play the back nine back to back, as he would be part of early 2nd round wave, starting on 10th tee. That probably doesn’t matter when it comes to his score, but we found it interesting.
Bryson started his first round on the back nine, and on 11, hit a ball deep into the woods left, hit a provisional, but magically found his first ball and managed to scrape out a par. On 13, he hit his drive into the pine trees on the right. Flew his second shot over the green into some bushes, hit a provisional into the creek, then magically found his ball in the bushes, but still ended up with a double bogey that could have been worse. Amazingly, after all of that, he still finished 2-under. Bryson will be a factor all week.
Fowler: 3-under through 11
Looks great right now, but when he returns on Friday morning, he has a chip for double bogey on 12, so he’s looking at being back to even when he tees off on 13. That’s the bad news. The good news is that 13 and 15 are birdie holes, and 16 is playing relatively easy. So, he could still salvage a good first round, but not the way you want to start your day. Or end your day. Or both.
Hatton: 1-under through 10
We knew a Brit would be on the leaderboard, but right now it’s Paul Casey leading the way. Hatton in good position if he can scramble for his par on 11 to start the day. Given Casey’s inevitable fade back to the field, it seems like anyone at or under par after round 1 should feel good about their chances.
Johnson: 3-under through 9
Great start for DJ, and we fully expect him to continue his solid play tomorrow. It’s gonna be a long day though, so we just hope they have enough sandwiches for him.
Koepka: 2-over through 10
Brooks will need a big Friday to get back in the mix, but he’s very capable. Might have the toughest shot possible to start his day on Friday – a 200-yard approach to 11. Good luck.
McIlroy: Even through 9
Rory will have to get up and down from a bunker on 10 to start his day Friday. It might be a bit of an advantage, as he should be able to place his ball as opposed to dealing with what may have been a plugged lie with the wetter sand. Of course, we also might have just made that up. But making things up is cool right? We would not be surprised if Rory goes on a heater to close out his first round and gets in the mix.
Rahm started his day on 10 and was 2-over by the time he reached the 13th tee box. A younger Rahm might have combusted, but he kept his composure and played his final 15 holes in 5-under to put himself in great position.
Thomas: 5-under through 10
Uh oh. Justin may have figured out Augusta. How’s this for a start: Birdie, Birdie, Birdie, Par, Birdie. After a bogey on 7, he birdied 8 and 10. Pretty impressive.
Watson: 1-over through 11*
Watson started on the back nine, but it was his finish to the back nine that cost him. Remember JT’s first three holes? Well Bubba decided to do the complete opposite on 16-18 with a very relatable bogey, bogey, double bogey. He made the turn and managed a birdie on 12, but he’ll have to build some momentum quickly on a very tough stretch of holes to start his day.
Plenty of golf still to be played, but some big names have already ascended to the top of leaderboard. Simpson, Schauffele, Matsuyama, Oosthuizen, Reed, Woods (ahem), Wolff and Scott are all within three shots of the lead. Whether it’s April or November, the Masters always delivers.