British journeyman Paul Casey showed his knowledge of Augusta National course today with a 7-under 65 to finish leader after day one by 2 strokes of the delayed 2020 Masters.
Casey, 43, has shown his comfort around Augusta in the past with five top-10 finishes in his 13 visits.
The play was suspended at the start of the day after only a few groups had teed off due to heavy rain, play resumed a couple of hours later.
Today Casey started on the back nine and we saw a flurry of birdies on 10, 13, 15 and 16 which saw him turn for home at 4-under.
After missing a relatively easy birdie putt on the 1st, Casey grabbed an eagle on the par-five 2nd to move into the lead and 6-under. He then grabbed another birdie on 6 to finish almost the perfect round at Augusta two-shot ahead of Webb Simpson, Xander Schauffele and Justin Thomas on 5-under.
After his round, Casey talked about how strange it was for him to tee off on the 10th.
“Starting on ten was strange because it’s not the easiest tee shot, I much prefer starting on one,” Casey said.
“It was a great round, I got through Amen corner unscathed, picked one up on 13 and from there it was just very very solid golf and for me the difficult key holes out there like one and five, seven you got to hit a good tee shot, I did the right things when I needed to. To be honest you rarely walk off this golf course going it could’ve been two or three better but it kind of felt that way.
“I don’t want to be greedy, I’m very very happy with my 65.”
— The Masters (@TheMasters) November 12, 2020
After playing almost an entire year without crowds in this covid-19 pandemic year, Casey is still not sure whether he is enjoying the experience this year.
“I was vocal earlier in the year at Hardin park about not enjoying golf in a pandemic. I’m acutely aware of that I’m in a very fortuitous position, I still get to be a professional golfer and play championship golf but I didn’t know how the fanless experience would be and so far I’ve not enjoyed it, I’ve felt a sort of lack of energy for me, I’ve nothing or very little to draw from being out playing tournament golf.
“The Masters though, this week, still has a buzz to it, there’s still something about it, there’s an energy and a little bit of a vibe yet clearly a lot less than we are used to but there’s something about this place. I felt excited to be here, I’ve never been so happy to pass a covid-19 test in my life.”
“This is a treat. It always has and always will be.”
View this post on Instagram
Tiger Woods started well with three birdies on the back nine and another on the front to finish 4-under, 3 behind Casey.
The play was suspended at 5.30 pm local time and the first round will resume before the second starts tomorrow morning.