The Masters: Utahn Mike Weir finishes strong in first round at Augusta
AUGUSTA, Ga. — He wasn’t even sure if he’d be able to tee it up on the 10-year anniversary of his triumph at Augusta National until the day before. But despite not being 100 percent for Thursday’s opening round at the Masters, Mike Weir was happy with his opening score.
An even-par 72 put the longtime Utah resident in a tie for 33rd place, six shots off the pace set by Sergio Garcia and Marc Leishman. It also puts him in good position to make the cut after Friday’s round, which includes the top 50 golfers and ties and those within 10 shots of the lead.
“I’m pleased,’’ Weir said. “I guess my expectations weren’t real high, but something in my gut told me I was going to find a way to score out here.’’
Weir suffered a rib injury in late March, which forced him to withdraw from the Arnold Palmer Invitational and miss the Houston Open and last week’s Valero Texas Open.
He rested at his home in Sandy and was only able to play nine holes before Thursday. Once the round began, he said he had to be careful not to swing too hard. Except for his tee shot at No. 8, which he said gave him “a little jolt,’’ Weir was pain-free most of the day.
Weir actually hit the ball well during most of Thursday's first round, but didn’t putt well until the last few holes.
He started off missing birdie putts of 15 and 8 feet on the first two holes and a 20-footer at No. 3. Bogeys at the two front-nine par-3s — No. 4 and 6 — put him at 2-over-par at the turn. Then he made a tap-in birdie at No. 10, followed by a 3-putt bogey at 11 to go back to 2-over.
However, he birdied the par-5 15th, and finished with a solid birdie at No. 18, rolling in a 12-footer to get back to even.
“To finish well was nice,’’ Weir said. “It was a little frustrating because I felt I left some out there, but to finish with a birdie, it’s what I wanted to do — finish somewhere around par.’’
For Friday’s second round, Weir will tee off at 10:13 a.m. MDT and will play again with Jim Furyk, who shot a 69, and Lee Westwood, who had a 70.
MASTERS NOTES: Scott Piercy, who played for one season at BYU in the late 1990s before transferring to San Diego State, was paired with Tiger Woods of all people for his first-ever Masters. He fared quite well until a double bogey on the 18th hole left him with a 75. ... T.J. Vogel, who wowed Utah golf fans with his win at the U.S. Public Links last summer at Soldier Hollow, shot a 77 in his first Masters round. ... Condoleezza Rice, who recently became one of the first two female members at Augusta National, received a nice ovation from the crowd behind the No. 12 tee when she walked up the aisle and sat at the top of the stands. ... Tianlang Guan, the 14-year-old amateur from China who is the youngest player ever to play in the tournament, fired a very respectable 1-over-par 73 with four birdies and five bogeys on the day. He finished ahead of several top golfers including defending champion Bubba Watson.
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