While there are no Australians in the top-10 after round one, the compacted field behind leader Charley Hoffman gives four of our five players a strong chance of moving into contention over the next few days.
MARC LEISHMAN (73, T19)
The Victorian didn’t let the tough conditions fluster him at all and he remained patient through the sometimes tediously long round.
He got off to a great start with a birdie at the par-5 2nd before carding seven straight pars, before becoming the victim of wild winds that resulted in a three-putt bogey on the 10th hole.
Leishman didn’t take full advantage of a good drive on the par-4, hitting his approach to 62 feet beyond the hole. But his first putt looked like it was on a good line with speed, when it hit a thick twig that fell onto his putting from a branch above. The ball pulled up quickly and left Leishman having to hole a par saver from 12 feet, which he missed.
He had further birdie opportunities on the back nine but they were mostly from long range. A soft bogey at the last, after spearing his approach into the gallery right of the green, dropped him from just outside the top-10 to just inside the top-20 on the leaderboard – a disappointing finish after grinding so well all afternoon.
JASON DAY (74, T26)
If there is one thing Jason Day can take away from his opening round it is this. The further he got into the round, the better every facet of his game got.
He brushed off a bogey on the par-4 3rd to reel off seven straight consecutive pars, which had him on the fringe of the top-10. A pulled approach into the green on the tough par-4 11th, found the water and led to a double bogey 6.
Birdies at the 15th and 16th holes moved him back to one over but he gave another shot back on the par-4 17th when his drive finished in trees left and his recovery skittled through the green leaving a difficult up-and-down.
“That was just a grind,” he said. “That’s the only real thing you can do is just try and grind and have more birdies than bogeys.
“There's really nothing that you can do. But I think I'm playing some decent golf. I've just got to get myself a little bit closer to the hole.”
ROD PAMPLING (74, T26)
The Queenslander ground out a terrific two over 74 by never really getting into trouble.
He minimised the damage from two wayward drives – a hook off the 10th, and a block to the right off the 11th – by making hard fought bogies.
With the exception of the aforementioned drives, Pampling was terrific from tee to green and can play his way up the leaderboard by continuing that play, and holing a few more putts, in the second round.
ADAM SCOTT (75, T41)
Many, including Scott himself, will look at his 32 putts for the round and point the finger of blame at that aspect of his game for his two over 74.
But the truth is he was desperately unlucky three or four of his birdie opportunities on the front nine burned the edge of the hole, which certainly would have done his confidence the world of good.
One putt he gladly holed on the back nine was at the 14th, when his birdie putt grazed the hole and rolled out to about three feet. As he was lining up the putt, a gust of wind blew the ball away from the hole to nearly 12 feet. Under the Rules of Golf he had to putt from the new position and he made it.
Sadly, three bogies – and a birdie – in the final four holes undid all the good work Scott had put into the round earlier.
“It's not exactly what I wanted,” he said. “I bogeyed three of my last four holes. I did a lot of good stuff out there considering conditions are really tough. But two three‑putts to finish kind of sour's the day's work.
“However, it could have been worse for me today. I would have liked to have putted better from six to ten feet, but it's very difficult when the wind is blowing really hard and you don't have complete control over the golf ball.
“The wind made it very difficult on some of the sloping areas of the greens or on long putts.”
He heads into tomorrow’s round 10 shots behind the leader and with plenty of work to do if he wants to win a second green jacket this week.
“I feel like I played pretty good,” he said. “I'm not panicking that I shot three over. I feel like I can have a good tomorrow and be right in the mix on Saturday.”
CURTIS LUCK (78, T75)
What a Masters baptism of fire for the young man!
He looked like he might survive the wild conditions and escape with a good score when he turned in two over, but five back nine bogies, including three in the last three holes, proved costly.
With windy conditions forecast again for the second round, the 20-year-old can quickly advance up the leaderboard by hanging in there and being patient.
In the race to be leading amateur, Luck is four shots adrift of US Mid-Amateur Champion Stewart Hagestad.