Australia has enjoyed a good first day at the US
Masters on the new “super-sized” Augusta layout, as Sports Illustrated called the famous course that has
been extended to battle technology.

Victoria’s Geoff Ogilvy, making his debut
at Augusta on the back of a rich vein of form that sees him sitting second on
the PGA money list, has lived up to the hype, finishing day one tied for fourth
and only three shots off Vijay Singh’s opening five under.

The 28-year-old rising star in a group of
four, including 2004 champion Phil Mickelson and two-time US Open champion Retief Goosen, while
two other Australians, Nick O’Hern, who couldn’t quite land a victory through
the Australian summer, and Stuart Appleby are in a larger group another shot
back, tied for eighth.

Adam Scott and Rod Pampling are even with
the card at 72, along with Tiger Woods, while Robert Allenby is another shot
away, at one over, six off the lead. Peter Lonard is at 4 over and Mark Hensby,
possibly still smarting over being called a “w*nker” pre-tournament by Allenby,
grumped to eight over.

The strong form of some of our golfers
gives us plenty to watch as the Masters heads into the weekend. Even if they
don’t do well, we get to laugh at the pro golfers being forced to remember what
a long iron looks like, now that Augusta has been stretched to counter new club and ball technology.

Tiger Woods stepped off the course, having
holed a long birdie putt to finish on even par (five shots off the pace), and
told a TV interviewer that the new layout was creating a strange Masters vibe.
Tiger pointed out that he usually reaches the ninth or tenth hole on day one to
find that somebody has bolted, en route to a low 60s score. Today, the leading
midway score was one under, as everybody tried to come to terms with what is
now the second longest major course ever.

Singh played a beautiful round, bogey-free,
and can’t be expected to necessarily falter. Others need to play well enough to
beat him. Roll on Monday!

Peter Fray

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