Patrick Reed keeps finding birdies for strong opening Masters round
2018 Masters Tournament champ Patrick Reed finished a delayed first round with back-to-back birdies Thursday afternoon, giving him eight in all on the way to a 4-under-par 68 and a spot high on the leaderboard.
With an original tee time of 7:54 a.m., the former Augusta State Jaguar was one of many that found their start delayed as much as three hours. Once he started, he worked around four bogeys to finish within striking distance of the leaders.
Reed said that, despite heavy rain, Augusta National Golf Club held up better than expected.
“It definitely was wet,” he said. “But with how much rain they've had throughout the past couple nights and also how much rain they've had today, the golf course held up really nicely. They definitely have figured that out, and I expected it to be a lot softer out there on the fairways, and this afternoon it seemed to dry out nicely.”
With the morning rainstorm softening the course, Reed found an opportunity to play a bit more aggressively. The idea may have cost him a stroke on the par-5 15th hole, as his second shot went into the water.
“You definitely find yourself being more aggressive and attacking more flags. If you're on, you're going to light the place up,” he said. “But if you're off a hair and you're on the wrong side of some slopes, you're still struggling to get up and down and try to make par and kind of eliminate the mistakes.“
Reed added the atmosphere without patrons was certainly noticeable.
“Oh, it felt really weird, obviously, like especially playing in this place without any fans,“ he said. ”It's one of those that it now allowed out through the trees to see parts of the golf course that you normally don't see, but if I had my way, I would definitely prefer fans here. They're definitely missed.“
More Augusta success
Three others with area ties also found success. Augusta native Larry Mize, the 1987 Masters champ, shot 2-under-par 70, his lowest score since 2009 when he shot 67 in the first round. Aiken native Kevin Kisner and Augusta’s Charles Howell III each shot 71.
Kisner began the day on No. 10 with an inauspicious start, posting bogeys on each of his first two holes. From that point, he made birdies on Nos. 13, 15, 2 and 3.
Howell was even through 12, but managed to surround a bogey on No. 14 with birdies to finish in the red. He said even without patrons and the different feel of this week, it’s impossible to find a negative about this venue.
“Listen, this is Augusta National. There are no bad days out here, and without the grandstands, without all that, people can see and appreciate it,” he said. “There's different angles and different layouts and different ways you can play a hole now. Yeah, there are no bad days here.”