On a blustery day, the amateurs in the field all had something to write home about.
Bryson DeChambeau, the reigning U.S. Amateur and NCAA championship who will make his pro debut next week at Hilton Head, played with defending champion Jordan Spieth and shot an impressive 72, low among the six amateurs.
While he was a little disappointed, Spieth was impressed.
“I think that Bryson DeChambeau played, to his standards, an off round and shot even par in tough conditions at the Masters. Watch out for him. In all honesty, it was really impressive watching his game today,” he said.
DeChambeau spoke glowingly of the day and it’s start, the ceremonial tee shots that several players came out to witness.
“That’s a memory I’ll never forget,” he said. “To see Mr. (Gary) Player and Mr. (Jack) Nicklaus stripe those shots and start this tournament off. It’s my first Masters, it’s a special experience. … It’s one that I will remember for the rest of my life.”
The other notable amateur was U.S. Mid-Am champ Sammy Schmitz.
He shot a remarkable 36 on the first nine despite two bogeys in the first three holes and looked at home, then struggled through the back nine before making pars at Nos. 17-18 to shoot 36-45—81.
“The wind was really blowing mostly one direction on the front nine, which I felt pretty comfortable with,” he said, noting that the wind change made 10 and 11 challenging. “And then it was difficult from there, the wind was just really confusing the heck out of me. … It doesn’t take much to get off track out here.”
The other amateurs were Romain Langasque of France (74), Derek Bard of the University of Virginia (76), Cheng Jin of China (79) and Paul Chaplet of Costa Rica (83).
Back nine woes
The Georgia and Georgia Tech contingents in the field suffered on the back nine in their rounds as well.
From UGA, Chris Kirk (38-76), Harris English (37-74), Kevin Kisner (41-77) and Bubba Watson (41-75) all but put themselves out of the chase. Two-time champion Watson had his first-ever double-bogey on No. 16 as part of his meltdown.
From Tech, Matt Kuchar (38-75) and Larry Mize (39-76) didn’t fare any better. All have some work to do to play the weekend.
Hole of the day
No. 1 Tea Olive
Par 4, 445 yards
Avg.: 4.371 Birdies: 7
Pars: 52 Bogeys: 24
Doubles: 5 Other: 1
Comment: Ernie Els’ six-putt 9 was the “other”. The only hole that played harder was No. 11, and the only holes that resulted in more bogeys were Nos. 10-11.
Rain was expected again overnight through 5 a.m., but a clear day lies ahead with winds again in the 15-20 mph range and highs around 68.