The par-3 12th may be the most famous hole at Augusta National. On Thursday, it was filled with the most peril.
The 158-yarder, which plays over Rae’s Creek, yielded a stroke average of 3.4, making it the second most difficult hole on the course. Only the par-4 11th proved tougher, with just two birdies and a 4.47 average.
There were nine double bogeys or worse made on No. 12, including three triple bogeys. Two of the shots into Rae’s Creek doused the potential for Adam Scott and Miguel Angel Jimenez to lead the Tournament. Scott arrived at 4-under and left at 2-under after a double bogey. Jimenez dropped to 1-under after his double.
“I just lost a little focus on that shot and didn’t commit fully to it,” Scott said, “and you paid a price on that one; that was what happened to me.”
Couples Opens Strongly Again: Playing in his 30th Masters, Fred Couples shot a 71 for his fifth consecutive first round of par or better. Couples has shot 66 (2010), 71 (2011), 72 (2012), 68 (2013) and now 71, all since turning 50 in October 2009. He has finished in the top 15 the past four years.
"I'm happy with what I shot," Couples said. "The last few years have been very good, and I really played well today. Can a 50-year-old win here? I think so."
Low-Scoring Rookies: Three Masters rookies – Jonas Blixt, Kevin Stadler and Jimmy Walker – played their way into the top 10, tying the record for the most after a first round of the Tournament. The last time a first-time player won the Masters was Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979. On Thursday, Blixt, Stadler and Walker all shot 2-under-par 70 to finish tied for fifth.
Hard Day for Crenshaw: Ben Crenshaw is playing in his 43rd Masters and has made the climb up the 18th fairway 135 times. He’s not sure how many more trips are left.
“I think about it a lot,” said Crenshaw, 62, who shot an 11-over 83, the second-highest score in the field in Thursday’s opening round. “I don’t think it’s going to be tomorrow, but it’s coming.”
The 1984 and 1995 Masters champion said it is no fun to shoot high scores at the golf course he loves. Crenshaw has made the cut only three times since his last victory 19 years ago.
Penalty Strokes: Masters rookie Steven Bowditch, who opened with a 2-over 74, had to call a penalty on himself on the ninth hole after his ball moved on a bed of pine straw. The bogey was one of three on the day for the recent winner of the Valero Texas Open. His only birdie came at the par-5 15th.
“I just hit it in the pine needles, and started moving something a little bit away from the ball,” Bowditch said. “Unfortunately, my ball changed positions, so had to call a shot penalty on myself.”
Similarly, Brandt Snedeker was left of the 13th green in two. When he took a couple of practice swings, his ball moved. He was assessed a one-stroke penalty, got up and down for par and finished with a 2-under 70, in a tie for fifth.
Luke Donald was assessed a two-stroke penalty on No. 9 for grounding his club in the sand after leaving his third shot in the bunker. He made quadruple-bogey 8 en route to shooting 79.
Par 3 Champion Struggles: A day after winning the Par 3 Contest, Ryan Moore carded an opening-round 77. Ever since the event began in 1960, no Par 3 champion has ever gone on to win the Masters the same year.
Quote of the Day: “Level par is not a bad score to these flag positions today, which I thought were tough for day one. We’re lucky we had benign conditions. You’re not going to get this golf course any more perfect than it was this morning.” – Graeme McDowell
Compiled by Masters.com staff