Masters: Did Jordan Spieth have the most entertaining opening round?

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Garry Smits, Florida Times-Union
·3 min read
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AUGUSTA, Ga. — Justin Rose’s second-nine sprint up the Masters leaderboard aside, the most entertaining round on Thursday might have been turned in by Jordan Spieth.

“Somewhat typical for me at the Masters,” Spieth said, when asked to describe his 1-under 71, which left him six shots behind Rose. “Some good golf and then some fireworks at both ends.”

It included a pitch-in eagle at No. 15 that Spieth said was “the luckiest break I’ve ever gotten here,” to a ghastly triple-bogey at No. 9, courtesy of a visit to the woods on the right, from which it took two shots to escape, followed by missing two short putts once he got on the green.

In between were two long birdie putts but also a heroic response to his 7 at the ninth.

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“I made, really two bad swings off the tee at 9 and 13, got away with one and didn’t with the other,” he said. “Other than that, I struck the ball really well. I would have signed up for a 71 if it was 17 pars and a birdie.”

Spieth, who won last week’s Valero Texas Open for his first victory in nearly four years, began the day well enough with an up-and-down birdie from a greenside bunker at No. 2. He then three-putted for bogey at No. 4 and drained a 30-foot birdie putt at No. 8 after flaring his drive into the deep fairway bunker and being forced to lay up.

His trouble as the ninth began when he pushed his tee shot into the right trees at No. 9. Spieth thought he saw an opening but the ball hit a tree and with a loud “thwack,” ricocheted backwards.

The good news is that Spieth had more of an escape route, and punched his third shot short of the green.

After pitching on, he missed a bogey attempt of 5 feet, then a double-bogey attempt of even less for his second three-putt of the first nine.

His answer just might have kept him in the tournament.

“I reset the goal … got to try and hit three greens in regulation, [Nos.] 10, 11 and 12, then two par-5s, shoot 2-under and post even par.”

It didn’t work out quite that way, but it was actually one shot better.

Spieth knocked in an 18-foot birdie putt at No. 10, parred Nos. 11 and 12, then made one more trip to the woods at No. 13 but minimized the damage with a par.

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After a good two-putt from 40 feet at the 14th, Spieth hit his second shot at the par-5 15th over the green. No problem. He merely pitched in for eagle.

The ball was motoring when it hit the flag. Spieth said had it not, the ball likely would have gone into the water.

“It might have gone in the middle of the water,” he said.

Spieth got himself to the clubhouse under par with safe two-putts on the final three holes.

“I’m not really going to be focused on Rosie,” he said of the leader. “That’s a heck of a round. I’ll just assume the golf course is going to be just as challenging. I have a pretty short memory out here, especially on first rounds.

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