Jordan Spieth charges to the top at the Masters
April 05, 2018
By The Associated Press
- April 05, 2018
- Jordan Spieth birdied Nos. 13-17 to take the lead in the first round of the Masters. (Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Jordan Spieth's quest for a second green jacket is off to a dazzling start.
The 24-year-old Texan birdied five straight holes on the back side to finish with a 6-under 66, giving him a two-shot lead after the opening round of the Masters.
Spieth made eagle at the par-5 eighth hole, but things really got rolling at the 13th. That's where he began the stretch of five straight birdies, which suddenly made him the man to beat.
This is Spieth's fifth Masters. He won in 2015 and finished in a tie for second two other times. His worst showing was a year ago, when he tied for 11th. He's played 17 career rounds at Augusta National -- shooting in the 60s six times.
Spieth would've had an even bigger lead if not for trouble at the 18th, where an errant tee shot into the trees left of the fairway led to a bogey. But even there, he showed off some magic, chipping up from the edge of the gallery for a tap-in putt.
Amazingly, he needed only 10 putts to get through the back nine.
The 2015 Masters champion birdied five straight holes beginning at the 13th Thursday, pushing his score to 7 under before a wayward drive produced a bogey-5 at the 18th. Spieth carded a 6-under 66 and held a two-shot lead over Tony Finau and Matt Kuchar.
Spieth already has three major titles on his resume, even though he won't turn 25 until late July.
He's certainly off to a good start in his quest for No. 4.
Matt Kuchar and Tony Finau are Spieth's closest challengers. Both shot 68, which was a truly amazing performance by Finau considering he dislocated his left ankle just 24 hours earlier while celebrating a hole-in-one during the Par 3 Contest.
X-rays were negative, and Finau was diagnosed with a high ankle sprain.
Finau made five birdies over 12 holes in the opening round and got to 4 under.
The group at 69 includes Rory McIlroy, who's going for the career Grand Slam, and Henrik Stenson.
Tiger Woods shot a 1-over 73 in the opening round, failing to make up any ground on the four par 5s. Woods has feasted on Augusta National's longest holes over the years, but parred each of them in his return to golf's first major.
He says, "That was the difference in the round."
The 42-year-old Woods has been away from golf for much of the last few years because of his four back surgeries. The Masters is his first major since playing the PGA Championship in August 2015.
He was back in the Masters field for the first time in 1,089 days.
Woods says he "definitely didn't score as well as I played," noting that he has to be better on the par-5s.
The four-time Masters champion is far from concerned. He's typically been a slow starter at Augusta, having shot under par just once (a 68 in 2010) in the opening round.
Woods says, "This is a very bunched leaderboard, and by the end of the week, it's going to be really crowded."
Meanwhile, defending champion Sergio Garcia made history -- not the good kind.
Garcia carded a 13 on the par-5 15th after hitting five shots into the water in front of the green.
He matched the highest single-hole score in Masters history.
Tom Weiskopf had a 13 at No. 12 in 1980 and Tommy Nakajima did it at No. 13 in 1978.