AUGUSTA, Ga. — Not the best of days for half of the Texas contingent at the Masters, but former champion Jordan Spieth and first-timer Doug Ghim certainly made their presence felt in the late afternoon.
And there’s always tomorrow for Jhonattan Vegas and Masters rookie Dylan Frittelli.
While Spieth, the 2015 champion here, finished Thurdsay’s first round atop the leaderboard at 6-under par 66, Ghim registered a pair of eagles and shot even par in his Masters debut.
Spieth has held the lead now for an incredible nine of his 17 Masters rounds.
Jhonattan Vegas and Dylan Frittelli, however, both struggled to 5-over par 77s on a remarkably calm, sunny Thursday, but Frittelli was just glad to remain composed and not blow up even worse. “I survived,” Frittelli said.
Six bogeys, accompanied by only a single birdie on No. 15, handed Vegas his second-highest score ever in what is his third appearance in Augusta. Frittelli started out solidly enough, but a tee shot in the bunker doomed the former Texas national champion to a triple-bogey on the par-3 fourth.
“I didn’t feel too many nerves, even off the first tee. I hit a good one there,” Frittelli said. “Definitely that six on No. 4 was a little hair-raising. I just tried to get a bit aggressive. I kept my calm there thankfully and parred the next few holes and birdied 8. I thought I had some optimism on the back nine, actually. I got back to 1-over after playing 12, made a birdie there and thinking hey, I can make some birdies coming in and an under-par round would be a good start to the tournament. But sadly I went the other way.”
Frittelli’s approach shot on 18 sailed well beyond the green on that steep uphill hole, and four rows of the chair back seats had to be removed to let him get a shot. His chip failed to reach the green, and he two-putted for a bogey.
“I kind of struggled the last two holes,” he said.
Vegas has missed the cut in both of his previous trips here, and Frittelli knows he’ll have to put up a strong score Friday to play on the weekend. Frittelli said he’ll probably need to shoot “something like 2 or 3 under par” to stay above the cut line.
He planned to practice for 2 1/2 hours later in the day, maybe get in a workout and “then put my feet up.”
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