The Masters: Old guys get it done in opening round
Augusta, Ga. • In a tournament packed with a bunch of young newcomers, the 50-and-over crowd made a bit of a stand in the first round of the Masters.
Miguel Angel Jimenez was leading the tournament for a time before stumbling on the back nine. Fred Couples was on the leaderboard himself before tying the 50-year-old Jimenez with a 1-under 71 that left both players three shots off the lead.
And former champion Bernard Langer managed to shoot even par in his 31st Masters.
"A 72 is not that shabby," the 56-year-old Langer said.
Not shabby at all, though the Masters is the one major championship where older players tend to do well. Jack Nicklaus finished in a tie for sixth here at the age of 58 in 1998, while Couples always seems to be hanging around the lead in the early rounds.
Power still counts, but sometimes the older players can make up for it by knowing where to put the ball and being crafty.
"It's hard for anyone. There are a lot of young guys that can hit the ball a long ways," said Jimenez, who was 4 under and in the lead before making bogey on No. 11 and double on 12 after hitting it in the water. "I don't hit the ball that far, but I hit it and it goes straight to the flag, you know.
"It's nice to see that I'm being competitive with all the guys."
The tricky little Par-3 12th at Augusta National played tougher than it has in years.
The 155-yard hole, which has water and a bunker in front, proved to be the second-hardest on the course in the opening round Thursday. Nicknamed "Golden Bell," the hole yielded six birdies, 56 pars, 26 bogeys, six doubles and three triples. The only hole tougher was the par-4 No. 11. The last time the 12th played as hard was 2009.
It was the only blemish on defending champion Adam Scott's scorecard.
Luke Donald's 7-over 79 his highest score ever at the Masters included a two-stroke penalty.
After Donald left his third shot in a green-side bunker at par-4 ninth, he grounded his club before his next stroke. That incurred a two-stroke penalty that left him with a quadruple-bogey 8.