Golf Buzz

Branden Grace
USA Today Images
After opening the 78th Masters with a 12-over 84, Branden Grace bounced back with a 3-under 69 on Friday.

South Africa's Branden Grace tied for 18th in his first Masters start a year ago.

Because of that, the 25-year-old, four-time European Tour winner should have had some confidence this week as he made his second Masters appearance.

Whatever confidence there was probably vanished for Grace after a nightmare round of 12-over 84 on Thursday -- the highest score recorded in the first round.

RELATED: Masters leaderboard | Day's ball lands in patron's bag | Complete coverage

What a difference a day makes, though. On Friday, Grace was an entirely different player. He had an amazing 15-shot turnaround, bouncing back from Thursday's 84 with a 3-under 69 in the second round.

At 9 over total, Grace will most likely miss the cut at this Masters, but it doesn't make his one-day turnaround any less remarkable.

On Friday, Grace recorded four birdies and just one bogey compared to Thursday's one birdie, six bogeys, two double bogeys and a triple bogey.

Believe it or not, Grace's 15-shot turnaround isn't the most in Masters history. That distinction belongs to Craig Wood, who was 21 shots better from round one to round two, with scores of 88-67 in 1936.

Wood went on to win the 1941 Masters and U.S. Open. We'll see what the Golf Gods have in store for Grace going forward.

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.

 

Jason Day
USA Today Images
Jason Day retrieves his golf ball from the shopping bag of a Masters patron on Friday.

Jason Day added a souvenir to the shopping bag of a Masters patron who already had a bag full of them during the second round on Friday.

Well, sort of.

You see, Day hit his second shot on the par-5 second hole at Augusta National into the gallery and -- somehow -- his ball came to rest inside a patron's gift bag.

RELATED: Story behind Els' shot from a water hazard | Donald's penalty | Masters leaderboard

Day consulted an official and was given free relief from the patron's bag -- he had to take the ball back to finish the hole -- took a drop and proceeded to get up and down for a birdie.

It reminded us of a similar situation from the third round of the 2013 PGA Championship. It was there at Oak Hill last August where Jonas Blixt found the pants pocket of a spectator with his tee shot on the 18th hole. Like Day this morning, Blixt got a free drop and managed to make a remarkable birdie after the free drop. Here's how Blixt recovered:

 

 

Day gave the birdie back and then some with a double bogey on the next hole. At the time of this post, Day was 1 over through nine holes and 4 over for the tournament.

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.

 

 

Luke Donald
USA Today Images
Luke Donald was assessed a two-shot penalty in Round 1 of the Masters for grounding his club in a hazard.

Former world No. 1 Luke Donald was assessed a two-stroke penalty in the first round of the Masters on Thursday.

The penalty occurred after Donald played his third shot from a greenside bunker on the par-4 ninth hole. Donald left his third shot in the bunker and violated Rule 13-4 by grounding his club in a hazard (the bunker) before playing his fourth shot.

RELATED: Story behind Els' shot from a water hazard | Masters leadeboard | Masters coverage

According to a Yahoo! Sports story, the infraction was brought to the attention of officials by a patron who witnessed the incident.
 
The report also states: 
According to Augusta National spokesman Steve Ethun, Donald was informed of the penalty after his round but prior to signing his scorecard. (Had he signed an incorrect scorecard, Donald would have been disqualified.) Donald took a first-round score of 79 (+7), a total that included the two-stroke penalty. Donald made a quadruple-bogey 8 on the hole and eventually signed for a 7-over 79.

Here is the full explanation of Rule 13-4 from the USGA's website:

13-4. Ball In Hazard; Prohibited Actions

Except as provided in the Rules, before making a stroke at a ball that is in a hazard (whether a bunker or a water hazard) or that, having been lifted from a hazard, may be dropped or placed in the hazard, the player must not:

a. Test the condition of the hazard or any similar hazard;

b. Touch the ground in the hazard or water in the water hazard with his hand or a club; or

c. Touch or move a loose impediment lying in or touching the hazard.

After the round, Donald took to Twitter to explain the incident:

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.

 

 

April 10, 2014 - 8:36pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Fashion Thursday
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Arnold Palmer, Jonas Blixt and Sergio Garcia topped our fashion leaderboard on Thursday at the Masters.
Here at the ol' Golf Buzz, we don't just care about who's playing well at the Masters. We also care about who looks good as they stroll the pristine fairways at Augusta National.
 
We put together a photo gallery of our 10 standout looks, but I am gonna take it a step farther and declare my three favorite fashion statements from today. I urge you to take a look at our gallery and chime in with your choices:
 
 
1. Arnold Palmer. The best look I saw all day made its debut just as the sun rose. Honorary starter Arnold Palmer looked fantastic in a green sweater that was just bright enough to bring a little color to the early-morning festivities and contrast nicely with the darker green of both the turf and Billy Payne's green jacket. In my view, the King reigned over the fashion parade today.
 
2. Jonas Blixt. Puma Golf likes to dress its players in eye-popping outfits, but Blixt's get-up was cool and refreshing. His white pullover with a series of stripes in cascading colors down the left sleeve was fashion-forward but not too extreme, and it looked great with his sky-blue trousers.
 
3. Sergio Garcia. El Nino stood out with his white shirt featuring a broad rose-purple stripe across the front and a bold block of the same unique color on the back. I love all the green and white that we see at the Masters, but it's great when someone can make a nice statement in colors on the other side of the color spectrum.
 
So there are my three faves. What say you?
 
 
Adam Scott
USA Today Images
Adam Scott's opening 3-under 69 on Thursday matches the number he opened with on his way to winning the Masters in 2013.

As the old adage goes, you can't win the Masters on Thursday, but you can lose it.

Defending champion Adam Scott seems intent on winning, evidenced by his opening 3-under 69 that -- at the time of this post -- left him tied for third and just one stroke behind clubhouse leader Bill Haas.

Interestingly, 69 is the same number Scott shot in the first round when he won in 2013.

RELATED: PGA.com's Masters leaderboard | Complete coverage | Masters by the numbers

If he's able to win again this year, Scott would become just the fourth player in history to successfully defend his Masters title.

Tiger Woods (2001, 2002), Nick Faldo (1989, 1990) and Jack Nicklaus (1965, 1966) are the only players to accomplish the rare feat. While there's still a long way to go in this, the 78th edition of the Masters, Scott certainly didn't do anything to hurt his chances.

He had five birdies on Thursday and one double bogey, which came on the par-3 12th hole, when he found Rae's Creek with his tee shot. He also had three-putt pars on the par-5 13th and 15th holes.

The 33-year-old Scott became the first Australian-born Masters winner a year ago and has finished in the top 10 in each of the last three years. Four of his last six major championship starts have yielded top-5 finishes.

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.

 

Craig Stadler
USA Today Images
Craig Stadler, winner of the 1982 Masters, shot a 10-over-82 on Thursday, while his son -- Kevin -- fired a 2-under 70.

Today, Craig Stadler and his son, Kevin, became the first father-son duo to tee it up in the same Masters.

The younger Stadler -- playing in his first Masters -- recorded the first sub-par round of the day with an impressive 2-under 70. His father, the 1982 Masters champ, struggled to a 10-over 82, matching his highest score at Augusta National.

Kevin Stadler admitted he was nervous, but found his way after the first hole in a round that included four birdies and two bogeys. He explained afterward that he really didn't get much advice from his dad, who is making his 38th Masters start this week.

RELATED: PGA.com's Masters leaderboard | Complete coverage | Masters by the numbers

"I think he was wanting me to find my own way," Kevin Stadler told reporters. "He stressed the fact that you can’t really learn where not to hit it until you’ve been there."

It was a rough day all around for Craig Stadler. He had nine bogeys, a double bogey and just one birdie in what he has said will likely be his final Masters.

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.