published Friday, April 11th, 2014

Short swings at the Masters

Sergio Garcia chips from the gallery to the 18th green on his way to a bogey during the opening round of the Masters golf tournament Thursday, April 10, 2014, in Augusta, Ga.
Sergio Garcia chips from the gallery to the 18th green on his way to a bogey during the opening round of the Masters golf tournament Thursday, April 10, 2014, in Augusta, Ga.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Jay Greeson breaks down Thursday's first-round action from the Masters at Augusta National.

Numbers

* 1 -- Total Masters rounds in the 60s for Bill Haas, whose 68 on Thursday led the first round.

* 4 -- Rounds Thursday in the 60s, with defending champ Adam Scott, 2012 champ Bubba Watson and 2012 runner-up Louis Oosthuizen adding 69s to Haas's score.

* 9 -- Jason Dufner's card-crippling score on the par-5 13th. He had played the hole in 8 under par entering Thursday, but that dreaded quadruple-bogey left Dufner, a pretournament favorite, with a first-round 80 and needing a miracle to make the cut.

* 71 -- Fred Couples' score Thursday. Couples, the 1992 champ, is the all-time scoring leader among players with 100 or more Masters rounds with a 71.88 average.

Shot of the day

There were a slew of very good shots but very few of the "Oh my!" moments that makes the Masters the Masters. There were only three eagles Thursday, so we'll go with a teary-eyed Jack Nicklaus and his ceremonial tee shot in the first group off that edged past Gary Player's drive and Arnold Palmer's. Jack's still got it.

Best and worst

* Best start: After warming up on the Masters range with a cigar in his mouth and mirrored sunglasses on his face, the ponytailed Miguel Angel Jimenez looked more Jack Nicholson than Jack Nicklaus. Jimenez sprinted out with a 32 but struggled coming back in on his way to a 1-under 71. Maybe he needed another stogie?

* Best way to defend your title: Scott, the 2013 Masters champ, started with a birdie, played the front in a tidy 33 and shot a 3-under 69. He's the first defending champ to shoot in the 60s since Vijay Singh shot a 69 in 2000.

* Worst hole: While Dufner's 9 on 13 deserves consideration, let's turn the scope on perennial fan favorite Phil Mickelson, who turned the par-4 seventh into a nightmare. He was chipping with his fourth shot just off the green and ran that 10 feet by the hole. Three putts later led to triple bogey -- his worst score on that hole in 84 rounds here.

* Best putt: After his three-jack from 10 feet, Mickelson rolled in a long-range putt that took 12 seconds to get to the hole and broke six feet left to right on No. 10. The birdie 3 jump-started his back nine, but the three-time champ failed to build on the momentum and finished Thursday with a 76.

* Worst nightmare for the players: Rae's Creek was devilish Thursday, sucking in a bunch of shots -- including one from Scott and another from Oosthuizen, among others -- as it protected No. 12. The 155-yard hole, which plays little more than a 9-iron or wedge for most of the field, was the second hardest on the course Thursday.

about Jay Greeson...

Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...

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