By Andrew Both
AUGUSTA, Ga. (Reuters) – The Augusta National golfing gods gave and also took away from Jordan Spieth in an entertaining and eventful opening round for the 2015 champion at the Masters on Thursday.
Spieth made a triple-bogey at the par-four ninth after carving his drive into the Augusta pines.
He had only a sliver of an opening to thread his second shot towards the hole but decided to take on the risk, and it was hardly surprising when his ball clattered into a tree trunk and ricocheted in the wrong direction.
He eventually reached the green with his fourth shot, only to three-putt.
But Spieth remained focused and, aided by a couple of lucky breaks, clawed his way back for a one-under-par 71, six shots behind leader Justin Rose.
“The bounceback after nine was the story of the day,” said the Texan.
“Going to (the 10th tee) there were a lot of people going ‘you can get that back’. I’ve seen everything here.”
And then some.
That ninth hole disaster was hardly far from Spieth’s mind four holes later when he again found himself among the pines, at the 13th hole, but this time he successfully negotiated a path back into play and made a par.
And if lady luck smiled on Spieth there, she positively grinned at him at the par-five 15th, where his eagle chip from behind the green clattered at speed against the pin and dropped in.
His ball would have been doomed to a watery grave in the greenside pond had it not dropped, and it saved him several shots.
“That’s probably the luckiest break I’ve ever got out here, probably a three-shot break,” Spieth said.
“As many shots that I hit that were a yard off early in the round were more than made up for there.
“It was somewhat typical for me at the Masters, some good golf and then some fireworks on both ends. I made two bad swings off the tee, on nine and 13, got away with one of them and not with the other.”
(Reporting by Andrew Both; Editing by William Mallard)