Short swings at the Masters

Short swings at the Masters

April 11th, 2014 by Jay Greeson in Sports - Golf

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/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.