August, Georgia – The first day of Masters 2022 in the books, and it was as incredible as expected. Augusta National on Thursday had it all: from a course that was tougher than it seems, to a leaderboard that already looks like the weekend, to Tiger Woods ’extraordinary 71 points in his first professional round in 17 months.
Sunzhe is in the lead, scoring 67 in the first 18 holes, but the top of the leaderboard looks remarkably similar to what it looked like at the end of Masters 2020 (more on that below). Sometimes in major championships it takes a while to form a leaderboard, but the 18 golfers who shot Thursday are almost all big names, and almost all would be great stories if they won.
Let’s take a look at the nine takeaways from the outstanding first round from Augusta National.
1. 2020 Masters redux: The top three on the board is the same top three at the end of Masters 2020. Dustin Johnson beat Imam and Cameron Smith that year, but now I lead Smith once and the DJ (and three more) twice. Although Smith is a favorite, I have resilience on top. He has only played in two Masters, but one of them was that T2 in 2020. We rarely think of him as one of the best young players in the world, but if he adds the Masters to his already solid resume, it will change in a big way.
2. Who is in the top 10? Since 2005, every winner except two has been in the top 10 after the 1st round. The exception was actually the same person. Woods won back in 2005 and then did it again in 2019 with T11. This year’s list includes the following names, and one of them will almost certainly become your 2022 Masters Champion.
- Sanjaya Im
- Cam Smith
- Danny Willett
- Dustin Johnson
- Scotty Scheffler
- Joaquin Neiman
- Jason Cocrack
- Cory Connors
- Patrick Cantley
- Harry Higgs
- Kevin On
- Daniel Berger
- Tony Finn
- Web Simpson
- Will Goldsmith
- Harald Warner III
- Matt Fitzpatyk
- … and Tiger Woods
3. The vile Scheffler: It would seem that everything Scotty Scheffler is doing is quiet, including his 3-to-69 on Thursday in the first round. The number one player in the world came almost without fanfare – partly because of Woods, and partly because he was never recognized as a reliable number one player in the world – but he was in the same position in which he was often in the specialties. In his last six major championships, Scheffler has finished in the top 10 four times and in all six of the top 20.
4. Smith’s double reason: Smith may be the most exciting player in the sport right now. He somehow shot 68 with a double in the first and a double in the last. In his last two rounds – one at TPC Sawgrass, who won his Players, and one at Augusta National, who found him in second place – he made just 18 birds and destroyed most of both fields. He may not win this weekend, but he may be the roller coaster you look for by the end of the road.
Rick Heman, Kyle Porter and Greg DuCharm summed up the action Thursday at Augusta National, including a shocking 71 from Tiger Woods. Watch and listen to The First Cut on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
5. Who played? Justin Thomas and Bryson DeChambo threw 76, and, with the exception of the miraculous last 54 holes, they came out of the mix. Other big names also struggled. Sam Burns scored 75. John Ram, Jordan Spit and Xander Schaufele – all Augusta National spies – scored 74 and tied PGA Tour Champions Pidreig Harrington and Mike Weir in the 1st round.
It was also a tweet of the day.
6. Danny Willett, right? Are we doing this again? 69 Willett is good for the T3, and there were no predictions like in 2016 when he won. Willett is not in the top 20 in his last 12 starts around the world, but he was still ready to return to the place of his greatest victory.
“You can’t come here and not wake up every morning with a smile on your face,” Willett said. “I think it’s impossible. It’s impossible for the players, and I think it’s impossible for the 25,000 visitors who come and go here every day. It’s a pretty special place. It’s nice that we can bring the good work we do , and bring it here, and it will give you that little butterflies are still walking around this place. “
7. Average score: I was shocked at how difficult this course was after how much rain fell in August over the last few days. I would have thought that the average score would have been roughly equal, but it increased to almost 74. Part of this is because it is artificially inflated by amateurs and former champions, but some because Augusta adjusted it so that it was more difficult than usual on Thursday, twisting pins and trying to compensate for turf moisture.
8. Low morning: Only two of the six amateurs shot better than 79, and the world’s No. 1 amateur Kate Nakadim, who succeeded at the Sony Open earlier this year, led with an even score of 72. Austin Gryzer scored 2 – over 74, and the two look like the only candidates for the low amateur awards this time. In addition, 72 points for anyone, especially an amateur, is a great score in the 1st round.
9. Tigers Thursday: Round 1 was about the Big Cat, which I wrote a lot about here. However, the latest information about him. After not playing golf for more than 500 days, he beat eight of the world’s top 10 players in the first 18 holes in August. Wild.
Watch the broadcast of the 2022 Masters all week with Masters Live as we follow the best golfers in the world across the Augusta National Recommended groupsregister in glory Amen Kut and see leaders around the turn Holes 15 and 16. Watch live for free on your computer and mobile phone via CBSSports.com and CBS Sports app. Also available at Paramount +.