AUGUSTA, GA – Day 1 of the 2022 Masters in the Books Championship was just as amazing as expected. From a course that plays harder than it looks on the leaderboard that really feels like a weekend 71- Tiger Woods’ extraordinary work In his first professional role in 17 months, Thursday’s Augusta National was everything.
Sungjae Im . performs After shooting 67 over the first 18 holes, but Top leaderboard It looks remarkably similar to what it did at the end of the 2020 Masters (more on that below). Sometimes in the major tournaments it takes a while for the leaderboard to take shape, but the 18 golfers who launched on the par on Thursday are almost all big names and they would all be great stories if they won.
Let’s look at nine quick ideas from a great first tour from Augusta National.
1. 2020 Masters redux: The top three places on the board are the same as the top three at the end of the 2020 Masters. Dustin Johnson beat Em and Cameron Smith that year, but Em now beats Smith by one and DJ (and three others) by two. Although Smith is the favourite, M stays on top. He’s only played two Masters, but one of them was T2 in 2020. We rarely think of him as one of the best young players in the world, but if he adds a Masters to his already solid resume, that will change in a big way.
2. Who are in the top ten? Since 2005, every but two winners have been in the top ten after the first round. The only exceptions were actually the same person. Woods won all the way back in 2005, then did it again in 2019 from T11. This year’s list includes the following names, and one of them is almost certain to be the 2022 Masters champion.
- Sungjae im
- Cam Smith
- Danny Willett
- Dustin Johnson
- Scotty Scheffler
- Joaquin Niemann
- Jason Kocrack
- Corey Connors
- Patrick Cantlay
- Harry Higgs
- Kevin Na
- Daniel Berger
- Tony Vino
- Web Simpson
- Will Zlatoris
- Harold Varner III
- Matt Fitzpatrick
- …and Tiger Woods
3. Sneaky Scheffler: Everything Scotty Scheffler does seems to be quiet, including 3-under 69 on Thursday in the first round. The #1 player in the world came in with virtually no fanfare – partly because of Woods and partly because he was never set as the world’s #1 guaranteed player – but he found himself in the same position he often found himself in the majors. In his last six Grand Slams, Schaeffler has finished in the top 10 and in the top 20 out of all six times.
4. Smith Casing Pairs: Smith may be the most exciting player in the sport right now. Somehow he shot a 68 with a double on the first and a double at the end. In his last two rounds—one at TPC Sawgrass that The Players won and one at Augusta National which found him second—he made 18 total jumpers and destroyed the most two fields. He might not still win this weekend, but he might be the rollercoaster ride you’ve been looking for the rest of the way.
5. Who played their way out of it? Justin Thomas and Bryson DeChambeau both shot 76, and 54 hole blockers finally made a miracle, they just got out of the mix. Other big names struggled, too. Sam Burns shot 75. Jon Ram, Jordan Spieth and Xander Shaveli – all at Augusta National – shot 74 and tied Padraig Harrington and Mike Weir in the first round of the Tour Champions League.
Also, this was a tweet today.
6. Danny Willett, huh? Will we do this again? Willett’s 69 is good for T3, and there was no harbinger like it was in 2016 when he won. Willett hadn’t had a top 20 in his last 12 matches around the world, but he was still excited to be back in the position of his biggest win.
“You can’t come to this place and not wake up every morning with a smile on your face,” Willett said. “I think it’s impossible. It’s impossible for the players, and I think it’s impossible for the 25,000 patrons who come and walk around here every day. It’s a very special place. It’s good that we can do the great work that we’ve been doing. Bring her here, and she’s kind of giving you a little bit of Butterflies that still roam in this place.”
7. Average Scoring: I was shocked at how hard it was to play this course after it rained in Augusta for the past few days. I thought the average scoring would be on par but it swelled to nearly 74. Some of that is because it was artificially inflated by amateurs and ex-champions, but some of it is because Augusta prepared it to be more difficult than normal on Thursday by poking nails and trying to offset Some moisture in the grass.
8. Low AM: Only two of the six amateurs have shot better than 79, and the world’s #1 amateur, Keita Nakajima, who scored earlier this year at the Sony Open, was ahead with 72 equal points. 2-Above 74, and these two appear to be the only candidates for amateur low honors this time around. Also, 72 for anyone, let alone an amateur, is a great result in the first round.
9. Khamis Al-Nimer: The first round was about the big cat, Which I’ve written extensively about here. One final statistic on him, though. After not playing competitive golf for more than 500 days, he beat eight of the world’s top 10 players on his first 18 holes at Augusta. Wild.
Watch 2022 Masters stream all week with Masters Live Where we follow the world’s best golfers around the Augusta National with Featured Groupscheck in the famous Amen corner And see the leaders around the turn on Holes 15 and 16. Watch live broadcasts for free on desktop and mobile via CBSSports.com And the CBS Sports App. Also available at Paramount +.
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