Martin Dempster has his finger on the pulse at The Masters
MONTY’S THE MAN IN US Colin Montgomerie may once have been the target for fans when he played in the US but he’s clearly a popular figure over here these days. The Scot is part of the Golf Channel team this week, providing an insight that Sky Sports deemed valuable here in the past but have Paul McGinley, Padraig Harrington and Thomas Bjorn as their golfing experts on this occasion.
LAST IN, FIRST TO SHINE
Russell Henley, the last man into the field, was the first to post a score in red figures. The 27-year-old from Georgia secured the final spot in the 94-man field by winning the Houston Open on Sunday. Taking up where he left off in Texas, Henley set the clubhouse target with a one-under 71 after going out in the first group.
ins at 50-1.
DOGGED DANE TAMES WIND It’s a little-known fact that Soren Kjeldsen finished fourth behind Danny Willett at Augusta last year. The dogged Dane is off to an encouraging start again with a level-par 72. Having won an Irish Open at Royal County Down, playing in the wind suited him to a tee. “When I saw it was going to be windy on Thursday and Friday, I was happy,” he said. “It’s a bit like County Down today but without the rain.”
CAPTAINCY IS NO EASY RYDER Taking on a Ryder Cup captaincy comes with a price. Paul McGinley and Darren Clarke both saw their games suffer when they held the post for Europe. Now Jim Furyk, the US captain for next year’s match in France, seems as though the same is happening to him. The former US Open champion has three top-10 finishes here and tied for 14th as recently as two years ago. But an opening 78 was his worst effort in 21 rounds since a first-round 80 in 2010.
Phil Mickelson was among the players on the first day to secure some crystal as an early reward for their week’s work. An eagle earns two crystal goblets in this event and Mickelson made his first one at the second in 19 years. The 2013 Open and Scottish Open champion rolled in a 42-footer, raising the first big roar of the day.
GREGORY GRIEF Scott Gregory had looked forward to teeing off as Amateur champion at Augusta since last June. But it quickly turned into a tough day for the Englishman as he ran up a triple-bogey 7 at the first. It became a struggle from that point and he eventually signed for a 82, which also included a 6 at the 12th.