Golf

Jonas Blixt, Kevin Stadler Set Early 1st-Round Pace at The Masters

The Masters

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They weren’t perfect, but Jonas Blixt and Kevin Stadler’s first-round performances at the 2014 Masters Tournament were the best of all the golfers who teed off early. After tee times right around 8:00 a.m. ET, Blixt and Stadler battled their way through the incredibly tough hole placements at Augusta to each finish at two under par. The former should have finished two strokes better while the latter’s late pair of birdies put him back near the top of the leaderboard as both players showed that consistency will be the key at The Masters in 2014.

Of course, that’s not to say that consistency isn’t always the key at Augusta; on the contrary, the players who shoot relatively solid scores each and every round are the ones who are in contention on Sunday. The players who go on streaks — whether they be good or bad — are the ones left wondering “what if?” while someone else puts on the green jacket after the final round.

After a pair of pars to start the day, Blixt rattled off five birdies with two bogies spotted within on the front nine and then hit six pars on the back nine with one early birdie before suffering two late bogies to drop him back into the pack after sitting atop the leaderboard all morning.

Meanwhile, Stadler hit mostly pars throughout the entire first round but went on two little streaks. On the front nine, he had a three-hole turn of birdie-bogey-birdie and then another of bogey-birdie-birdie on the back nine. Those little streaks look insignificant on a full score card, but they were the difference in him sitting at even par and out of the top 20 or even at four under, which would have him in the driver’s seat as the latter tee times get under way.

As Blixt and Stadler showed, consistency will be the key — as always — and it will be interesting to see how each player does on Friday as they try to find their rhythm on the greens that were unforgiving on Thursday, even for the best of the golfers who teed off early.