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Masters - Day 1
April 7, 2011 - B.J. Lisko
Rory McIlroy made Augusta National look like Flying "B." The Northern Ireland native cruised his way to a 7-under 65 in ideal conditions in the opening round of the Masters on Thursday. Whether he can stay there is still yet to be seen. Last time McIlroy led after the first round in a major he didn't break 80 in the second round. Then again, that was the British Open in absolutely insane weather, but regardless, Friday will be a benchmark round to see just how far the 21 year old has come since then. --- Tiger looked about the same as usual on the first day at Augusta firing a 1-under 71. He's never shot in the 60s in the opening round when he's won a Masters so he's not in unfamiliar territory. But if conditions stay the same or near as calm as they were Thursday on Friday, he's going to have to a do a lot better than 71 to be in the thick of things come the weekend. He didn't look terrible at any one point in his round, and he was all over the hole despite 30 putts. Think about this for a second. Tiger has 14 majors. About half of those he simply ran away with. The other half, every bounce, every revolution of the ball, everything went his way. Now, he's not catching the little breaks like he used to. You can only beat up the sport of golf for so long before the sport comes back and bites you. It's like karma. --- Phil Mickelson is still the favorite after ho-humming his way to a 2-under 70. You got the feeling watching Lefty play on Thursday that he's on the brink of a 65 or 66, and I wouldn't at all be surprised to see that Friday. What's going to be the interesting thing about Mickelson, is that whenever the spotlight has been shining brightly on him, especially when it came to dueling with Tiger and his former No. 1 ranking, he seems to falter. But if there's any place that Mickelson can shine brighter then the spotlight cast on him is at Augusta. We'll see what happens. --- Fred Couples' back has held up for 18 holes en route to a 1-under 71. Only 54 more to go Freddie! Stock up on lots of Advil my friend. --- Sergio decided to play golf again which is nice to see. After his year and half self-imposed hiatus from competitive golf where he took time to clear his head, Garcia showed flashes of brilliance Thursday with a 3-under 69. He's another "to be continued." --- Martin Kaymer, world No. 1? Yes, technically. But as far as I'm concerned if you can't win in the United States or perform even halfway decently at Augusta, you're not the best golfer in the world. He'll stay near the top playing lots of the Euro treks, but Augusta is murder for a steady fade player. He'll be looking to get out of dodge quickly Friday if he doesn't start lights out. --- Be back tomorrow ... E-mail B.J. Lisko at firstname.lastname@example.org
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