Originally posted on Taking Bad Schotz  |  Last updated 4/5/12

Golf’s first major tournament of they year has arrived, and all eyes are once again on Tiger Woods. Coming off his bounce-back win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Tiger has his fans believing this will be his next major championship that he will win. Held at always the beautiful Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia, where we have on hand one of the most competitive fields headlined by names such as Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson, and the current world’s #1 Luke Donald all competing for the coveted green jacket. Lee Westwood stands as the day 1 leader sitting at 5 under par. Westwood began his round very impressively recording 5 birdies on the front 9, including 4 of them coming consecutively after one another. Although Westwood’s start looks promising, I look for him to settle down towards the remaining days as he has a history of finishing 2nd or 3rd in major tournaments each year.

Tiger Woods as the most hyped player for today’s round was able to record an even par round for today. Tiger played a very mediocre day of golf as he has fallen 5 strokes back from the leader Westwood. Woods was fortunate enough today to escape with a couple of par saves to begin his round after very shaky opening shots on the first two holes. He finished his day with 3 birdies and 3 bogeys, numbers he would clearly like to change before getting into the heart of the tournament. I expect Tiger to improve his game as the week goes on, but I do not see him living up to the hype and winning his 5th green jacket at the Masters.

World’s #1 Luke Donald and Master’s veteran Phil Mickelson both struggled today, Donald recorded a +3 over par, and Mickelson was +2 over par. Neither one of them truly found their true form on the course today, recording several bogies each, including a triple bogey for Mickelson on the 10th hole. Standing 7 and 8 strokes behind the leader does not look hopeful for either player, and I don’t believe either one will be able to overcome the deficit they played themselves into today.

Rory McIlroy on the other hand had a very impressive end to his round by finishing with consecutive birdies on holes 17 and 18, and finished with a 1 under round of 71. McIlroy struggled slightly in the beginning of his round, but as the day went on he began to find his winning form. Look for McIlroy to get right back to the top of that leader board by the weekend and be in the hunt to win his first green jacket at Augusta National Golf Club.

2012 Masters Tournament Champion: Rory McIlroy

-Andre

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