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Tim Bourret’s Masters Blog – Thursday, April 13

Tim Bourret’s Masters Blog – Thursday, April 13

Lucas Glover’s Day at the MastersIt was a day of “What could have been,” for former Clemson All-American Lucas Glover on Thursday at the first round of the 77th Masters. You could look at his round so many ways, but in the end he had a round of 74, two shots short of even par, which has a good chance to be the cutline after 36 holes on Friday. He stands in a tie for 56th after the first round. Had he made par on the last two holes he would be in 34th place. That is how competitive the 93-player field is.

The Masters cut is the top 50 and ties, or anyone within 10 shots of the lead after 36 holes. Sergio Garcia and Marc Leishman are the leaders at six under par after the first round.

Glover was between even par and two-over par the entire day. He made the turn at two over par 38, then made three birdies between the 11th and 15th holes to get back to even par for the day. He was still even as he stood on the 17th tee, but made bogey on the last two holes to finish at 74.

There were many positives and some negatives for Glover in the first round…The Positive:

  1. Hit 11 of 14 fairways tied for sixth best in the field. He had an average drive of 293 yards, including a 308 yard strike on the 11th hole that led to a birdie on one of the most difficult holes on the course. He was one of just eight players to make a birdie on the 11th hole.
  2. Hit 12-18 greens, tied for 24th best in the field and certainly good enough to score par or better on most days.
  3. His ball striking was outstanding. Eleven times he had a birdie putt of 15 feet or less, including six from 10 feet or less.
  4. He made good decisions on club selection with the help of his caddy. On the fourth tee a 240-yard par three into a left to right wind, he switched from a hybrid to a three iron and hit his tee shot in difficult conditions to within 12 feet of the hole.
  5. He had just 13 putts on the last nine holes and had one or zero putts on six of the nine holes.
  6. He chipped in from 20 feet on the difficult par four 10th hole for par, a shot that seemed to jumpstart him in the right direction.
  7. He battled back to even par after 15 holes when he made his fourth birdie of the day, his 100th of the year on the par five 15th.

The Negative:

  1. He missed seven putts from 10 feet or less including two on the last hole.
  2. He hit the ball in a bunker on three holes and scored four over par on those three holes. He was two under par on the 15 holes he did not hit the ball into a bunker.
  3. He three putted twice on the back nine.
  4. He bogeyed each of the last two holes.

Friday a New DayWith what I saw Glover can come back strong on Friday and make the cut. A two-under-par round would probably do it. And, he will have an early tee time, 9:17 AM when an overnight rain could make the course a little softer and allow him to direct shots at the pin in an aggressive nature that fits his game. The winds should be much more calm early in the day.

Glover’s career best round at the Masters is 71 and he has achieved that score four times. Three of the four have come in the second round. Three of the last four times he has played the Masters he has improved by at least three shots from the first round to the second round. That includes 2010 when he went from 76 in the first round to 71 in the second round and made the cut.

Glover by the NumbersTwo – Longest putt in feet that Glover made on his first nine holes. He gave himself many chance for birdies on the front side with outstanding ball striking, but could not drop a putt. He had exactly two putts on each of the holes on the front side.Six – Today was the first round of Glover’s sixth Masters. He has now participated in more Masters than any other former Clemson golfer. Jonathan Byrd had also played in five Masters prior to today.20 – Glover’s top finish at the Masters when he shot 298 in 2007 thanks to rounds of 74-71-79-74.27 – This is Glover’s 27th career Major Championship. He has made the cut 12 of his previous 26. Glover has the best finish by a former Clemson golfer at the US Open (first in 2009), the PGA (fifth in 2009) and the British Open (12th in 2011). Jonathan Byrd has the best finish by a former Tiger at the Masters, eighth place in 2003, his first Masters.100 – His fourth and final birdie of the day on the par five 15th hole was the 100th of the young season for Glover. He hit his second shot pin high just off the green 20 feet from the hole. He got up and down when he made a four foot putt for par.240 – Distance of the par three fourth hole. And it was playing as far as it could as the tee box was in the back of the tee area and the hole was on the top shelf back left. Glover reached the green with a three-iron. My goodness, and he had to hit his shot into a left to right wind.308 – The distance of Glover’s drive on the par four 505-yard 11th hole. He put it in the fairway, then hit his second shot to within 15 feet right of the hole (correct side). He made the putt for a birdie, one of just eight birdies on that hole all day.

Glover’s GalleryI ran into some former Clemson athletes following Glover over the course of the day on Thursday.

  • Former Clemson All-ACC basketball player Murray Jarman was in attendance on Thursday. He played for the Tigers and Bill Foster from 1980-84. Now in business in Miami, Jarman is the only athlete in Clemson history to be drafted in two difference sports, a second round pick by the Phoenix Suns and a 12th round pick by the Denver Broncos.
  • Former Clemson defensive back Bobby Johnson also was in the Glover Gallery. The former head coach at Vanderbilt was Clemson’s defensive coordinator during the 9-3 season of 1993. He said he was coming to Clemson’s Spring Game on Saturday and looking forward to seeing Brian Dawkins, who he coached as a sophomore in 1993.
  • Two former Clemson golfers were in Glover’s gallery as well. Tripp James, who was with Glover for much of his career, was in the gallery with his dad. I also ran into former Clemson All-American Oswald Drawdy, who now lives in Atlanta. Drawdy once qualified for the 1993 US Open and had his mother as his caddy. That unique experience rated a feature in Sports Illustrated that summer. Drawdy was an on course and academic All-American at Clemson.

Other Items of Interest on Thursday

  • Only at the Masters will you see a 61-year-old playing with a 14-year old. Ben Crenshaw, playing in his 42nd Masters, was paired with Tianlang Guan of China in the group ahead of Glover. Guan shot an opening round 73 and was a favorite of the crowd.
  • Among the spectators was CBS basketball analyst Clark Kellogg. Of course his play by play partner during basketball season is Jim Nantz, the voice of the Masters. Does anyone have a better month of April every year than Nantz, who broadcasts the NCAA Basketball Championship on Monday and the Masters the following weekend? One item on Nantz, the first college basketball game he broadcast (radio) was at Clemson in 1981 when he did an IPTAY Tournament game for Rice University. He was a senior at the University of Houston at the time. Nantz’s sister was a student at Clemson.
  • One of the more entertaining players in the field is Henrik Stenson, who played in Glover’s group on Thursday and will be with him again on Friday. Stenson drove the ball over the green on the 350-yard par-four third hole. Crenshaw’s group was still putting at the time and Stenson apologized for not knowing his own strength when he got to the green.
  • On the 18th hole Stenson hit the ball left into the trees. I was standing right behind him as he used the theory that trees are 90 percent air. He blasted the ball through the trees with a three-iron to within a few yards of the green, an incredible shot. But he could not get up and down and made a bogey to finish with a 75.
  • The flowers are in nearly perfect bloom this week. Congrats to the Director of Horticulture at Augusta National, Clemson graduate Tommy Crenshaw.
  • One player with ties to Clemson who had an outstanding day was former Masters champion Trevor Immelman. Immelman became friends with Dabo Swinney back in 2010 when they ran into each other while on vacation in Florida. Swinney showed his recruiting efforts are good with more than just teenagers. He made Immelman a Clemson fan while they watched the 2010 College World Series together and he has attended a couple of football games at Clemson with Glover in recent years. Immelman shot a four under par 68 on Thursday and stands in a tie for fourth place after the first round.