Augusta, Apr 5 (PTI) It was a rough opening day on the golf’s biggest stage for Shubhankar Sharma as he opened with a five-over 77 on his maiden Masters appearance.
Despite three birdies, he was shredded by eight bogeys, which included two bogey hat-tricks, one on each half of the Augusta National Golf Club.
Other Asian Tour members were Yuta Ikeda (76) at Tied-62nd and Kiradech Aphibarnrat (79) at T-82. Honorary member, Vijay Singh of Fiji, led the field for a while and he was twice at 3-under, but finally ended 1-under and in Tied-16th place.
The overall first round leader was Jordan Spieth, the 2015 champion, who had five birdies in a row from 13th to 17th but bogeyed the last to take lead at 6-under and he was two shots clear of Tony Finau, who seemed to have recovered form his twisted ankle during the Par-3 Contest, and Matt Kuchar.
Seven players including Li Haotong shot three-under 69 to be Tied-fourth and that group included former World No. 1 Rory McIlroy and birthday boy Swede Henrik Stenson.
Tiger Woods making a comeback to Masters after two years shot one-over 73 and was Tied-29th. He had three birdies, none of them on Par-5s, against four bogeys.
Sharma seemed to have settled himself in after any jitters he may have had of playing his first Masters as he made three steady pars. Then came the first hat-trick of bogey from fourth to sixth, but two pars and then his first-ever birdie at Augusta suggested he might find his way back.
It was not to be as each of his three birdies were followed by bogeys; on the two occasions, it was on the very next hole. That never allowed him any breathing space.
To be honest I not too happy with the round. I didn’t finish the way I wanted to, but it was great out there, the atmosphere and everything, it was fantastic,” said Sharma.
“The back nine I was just making birdies and bogeys, until the 16th hole, and then 17th and 18th were bad. But maybe there are some bright things to look to for tomorrow and I’ll try and do my best. Summing up the day, he said, The putter did not work on the front nine and approach (shots did not work) on the back nine. It was a mix of both. On his final three holes, he said, On 16 was I was trying to hit an easy 7-Iron, which I pulled and it was pin high but it was just too far left. I will still not be too hard on myself. I made bogey, actually, a good bogey. But both 17 and 18 were hard. Sharma however enjoyed playing on the course.
The course was great. I think we had good scoring conditions today. The pins were pretty decent and you had a good chance of attacking most of the pins on the course today. It wasn’t too windy today and if it stays the same way tomorrow, I’ll be able to shoot a good score and see a good round tomorrow. Kiradech, who was playing with a brand new driver, after breaking his usual one two days ago, shot eight bogeys four on each side of the course – against just one birdie. His 79 left him too much to do to stay on for the weekend.
My driver just did not work. Once that did not work, I was in problems always. I was not in the right places of the tee and that meant my approach shots left me with 30-35 foot putts. I got no chances, he said.
Another Asian Tour member Yuta Ikeda carded four-over 76 that had four birdies, but also four bogeys and two doubles.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.