A stunningly beautiful day at Augusta National! I must admit that I thought the scores would have been a tad lower. I thought the lead would move to eight under but they had some very sporty pin placements and still kept the players on the defense.
Still a terrific leaderboard with major winners, Rose, Spieth and Scott right up there along with former Players Championship winners Sergio and Ricky. My point is that these are all prime time players! I believe the winner will come out of this group of players. My pick at the start of the week was Sergio so I’ll have to stick with him.
Most have heard that the Masters doesn’t start until the back nine on Sunday. That’s true to an extent with all the water and risk reward holes but the front nine is more difficult in my opinion. It doesn’t have the water like the back nine but has very difficult par 4’s and two testing three pars. With the leaderboard as crowded as it is, I doubt very much you will be able to win the Masters playing the first nine in over par. A good opening nine will thrust you into the most pressure packed 9 holes of your career! Just ask Jordan Spieth! To be perfectly fair to him, he has already handled the pressure in winning in 2015. I suspect if he is still in contention on the last nine the “2015 Jordan” will show up and he will put to rest all the questions raised with his collapse last year. He is a terrific young man and an exceptional player. He WILL NOT allow himself to be defined by the back nine last year.
A few shots to look for today that don’t get enough attention in the telecasts. The drives on the back nine set up everything. If you are going to shoot low on the final nine, you MUST drive it good. Spieth’s trouble started last year with two poor drives on 10 and 11. People always talk about 12 but a couple bad swings on the two previous holes may have put some seeds of doubt in his mind. It doesn’t take much under that kind of duress. The tee shots will dictate the game plans on each hole coming home. The player that drives it the best will have the best chance.
Augusta National is such a special place. The hills, trees, streams, flower seem to create the most unique acoustics. The roars swim over the land like an earthquake and certain roars tell you who did something special! The noise is different for Phil, Freddy and Jordan, yes Jordan! In four short years he has established himself as one of the “Masters sons”. He is a crowd favorite, already a cult hero and he’s earned it.
I seem to have mentioned Jordan quite a bit, I believe he has a tremendous chance today to win his 2nd Green Jacket but sometimes fate reaches out its mystical hand and taps the brow of the winner. Today is the late Seve’s 60th birthday. He is the father of European golf and also a Spaniard…….I’ll let you fill in the blanks……