But the completion of the opening circuit for half the field in the rescheduled final men’s major of the year following a weather delay on Thursday proved painful for Rory McIlroy.
Making his sixth attempt to join Ben Hogan, Gene Sarazen, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods in completing a career grand slam, the four-time major winner hit poor shot after poor shot as he had to settle for a three-over-par 75.
It was his worst opening effort at the Georgia venue in 12 appearances and left him 10 shots off the lead after Paul Casey had set the clubhouse target overnight before being joined by world No 1 Dustin Johnson and South African Dylan Frittelli as they were among the players to shine this morning.
A total of 24 scores in the 60s ended up being recorded, which was the most for a single round in the event, beating the previous record by four.
McIlroy had started the day at level-par after seeming to be struggling with most parts of his game over the nine and a bit holes he managed before darkness halted play on Thursday.
The 31-year-old would have been hoping to have found something on the range before his restart, but that certainly wasn’t the case.
He’d already dropped a shot at the tenth before a shocking pulled drive at the 13th almost ended up in the adjoining Augusta Country Club.
It was a feeling of deja vu for McIlroy as he found himself in a similar spot to where he ended up during his implode in the final round in 2011.
On this occasion, it cost him a bogey-6 and it quickly went from bad to worse as he then pulled his tee shot at the short 16th into the water.
“That is so bad, oh my god,” said McIlroy of that horror shot and, though he managed to salvage a bogey by rolling in a 20-footer from the front edge, it had already turned into a battle to make the cut.
In 11 previous appearances here, he’s failed just once to make it to the weekend - in 2010 - and, on this occasion, there’s no 10-shot cut to save him, with just the top 50 and ties after 36 holes progressing.
Playing alongside McIlroy, Johnson birdied three of his last four holes to make an ominous start, having recorded four successive top-10 finishes in this event.
In contrast, Frittelli missed the cut in his only previous appearance in 2018, but an effort that contained an eagle and six birdies earned him a lofty position after the opening circuit on this occasion.
Others to do a satisfactory job in terms of taking up where they’d left of on Thursday included 63-year-old Bernhard Langer, who signed for a 68 – two shots less than the score posted by 62-year-old Larry Mize on day one.