All eyes were on big names like Tiger Woods, Martin Kaymer and Rory McIlroy on the first day of the 2015 Masters. But it was a rising talent who grabbed the headlines and an early lead.
Day one of The Masters is in the bag and as expected, there are talking points all over the leaderboard. 18 players shot under par, including 65-year-old Tom Watson, the oldest golfer ever to do so. But it was the young head of an already exciting Texan who outshone the rest at the Augusta National.
A cool head on young shoulders
In his Masters debut last year Jordan Spieth finished joint second. That came after his first two PGA tour wins before the age of 22, making him only the fourth player in history to achieve that. And on Thursday Spieth showed composure and maturity, exploiting the slow greens to card nine birdies in an eight-under par round of 64. That was one shot off of the Masters record.
With a three-shot lead over Ernie Els, Justin Rose, Jason Day and Charley Hoffman, Spieth will open day two with a nice cushion. He had eleven one-putts, and if his short game remains that hot, the 13th ranked American is definitely a contender for the title.
Kaymer fails to deliver
World number 14 Martin Kaymer was found wanting in his opening round. The German is tied for 77th, nagging just a lone birdie on his way to a four-over par 76. Augusta National obviously doesn't suit Kaymer. He hasn't finished inside the top thirty, and it doesn't look good for a better result this year.
Neither his driving or short-game clicked on Thursday, as he averaed a mediocre 1.61 putts per hole. However, Kaymer will be in the final group to play on Friday in round two, so he will have the advantage of being able to see how his competitors fare.
Tiger starts well
It was an up-and-down opening round for Tiger Woods, who got out of jail on a number of occasions on his way to a one-over-par 73. "I felt good out there," said Woods after his round.
Woods was returning for his first compeitive round of golf since February and sliced his tee shot on the first hole to the right. A stuttering start including two bogies in the opening four holes left Woods showing frustration after a number of wild shots. His experience will be crucial if he is to make the cut for Saturday and Sunday.
“I felt that I hit the ball well enough to shoot a few under par," said Woods. "Our entire group was struggling with the greens. We were talking about how slow they were today."
Round two of The Masters begins at 12:45 UTC Friday.