There is just something about the Masters that brings out the best in certain players in the world.
Some men simply love Augusta National, and no matter how poorly they may be playing coming into the year’s opening major, they find a way to succeed.
That, along with a rather soft course which came courtesy of rain early in the week, made for an entertaining first round on Thursday.
Here are five takeaways for round one.
1. Koepka might now be the best player in the world
There is not much of an argument against this at the moment. While Brooks Koepka might be ranked fourth in the world, he is a threat to win every time he shows up at a major.
And how players play on the toughest courses is a great indicator who the best player is. Koepka is playing his absolute best at majors right now.
He has three wins in his last six majors, four top 10s and five top 11s. And after day one at Augusta, Koepka is once again in a share of the lead following his bogey-free 66.
2. Day is great even if he’s hampered
One of the most disappointing things about golf in recent years has been the health of Jason Day’s back.
A perennial major contender, former world number one Day has had to pull out of multiple events due to back pain and once again suffered some kind of an issue with his posterior chain during the first round.
Despite his issues, though, Day still found a way to not only put up a respectable round, but one that puts him in contention at two under.
It is sad Day only has one major win, but the Australian will always have chances to win at big events no matter how he is feeling. Hopefully his pain improves for round two.
3. DeChambeau may annoy his opponents but he knows how to golf
Tons of golfers complain about Bryson DeChambeau’s pace of play while others make fun of his evaluation of air density, but they can laugh all they want because the American is in a tie for the lead alongside Koepka.
His game is different from his iron lengths to use of protractors, but the guy is as precise as it gets and the 18th hole in round one was a perfect example of that precision.
‘The Professor’ has not won a major yet, but the more time he spends on tour and the more notes he gets in his infamous yardage book will only make him more dangerous to come away with a victory.
4. Guess who’s back? Back again
Like Day, Phil Mickelson always finds a way to show up at majors and the Masters in particular.
The 48-year-old shot a five-under 67 to find himself one shot back of the leaders — and that was coming off two consecutive missed cuts at stroke-play tournament coming into Augusta.
Mickelson has three career Masters wins and is comfortable every time he steps foot on the course at Augusta National. He has every chance to compete at this tournament and it honestly would not be surprising if he won.
5. Spieth the exception to the rule
Jordan Spieth loves playing at the Masters. He has already won one title and he has been in contention several other times.
But even Augusta National cannot break the slump he is in right now as he finished his day nine shots back of Koepka and DeChambeau at three-over par.
Spieth missed the cut at The Players Championship, finished 30th at the Texas Open and is yet to record a top-10 finish this season. He has not even recorded a top 20.
He is struggling right now and while Augusta can bring out the best in players like it has with Mickelson and Day, it has not done the same for Spieth.