Ten Notes to Know: 1st Round of the 2019 Masters Tournament
1. Brooks Koepka continued his stellar major championship play with an opening round 66 at Augusta National on Thursday. Since 2017 began, Koepka leads all players in the majors in score to par (40-under), birdies/eagles made (140) and rounds led or co-led (8).
2. Koepka gained 6.77 strokes on the field tee-to-green in round one, by far the most of any player. Koepka’s performance off the tee was particularly stellar: his 317.4 yard average driving distance (on all drives) was 26.4 yards better than the field average, while his 86 percent fairways hit was 18 percent better than the field average.
3. Koepka is looking for his third major championship in the last four contested. The last player to win three majors out of four played was Tiger Woods during the ‘Tiger Slam’ of 2000-2001. Woods, of course, won four in a row in that incredible stretch.
4. Bryson DeChambeau posted the lowest round of his major championship career Thursday, a 66 to match Koepka. DeChambeau had previously only recorded one round in the 60s in his major championship career – a 69 in the second round of the 2018 U.S. Open. This is the first time Bryson has been inside the top-five following any major championship round.
5. Phil Mickelson was fourth in the field Thursday in strokes gained tee-to-green en route to a sparkling 67. For Lefty, it was the 11th round of 67 or better in his Masters career, second-most all-time to Jack Nicklaus, who has 14.
6. Dustin Johnson (-4) continued to excel on the greens of Augusta National, ranking fourth in the field in strokes gained putting in round one. Johnson has gained an average of 1.13 strokes putting per round at The Masters the last five years, third-best in that span behind only Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth.
7. Two Americans under age 30 – DeChambeau and Koepka – share the lead after round one. It is the first time that two Americans in their 20s have shared the lead after a round at The Masters since the final round in 1982 when Craig Stadler met Dan Pohl in a playoff.
8. Rory McIlroy’s dreams of completing the grand slam this week took a hit with his opening round 73. McIlroy has never won an event worldwide as a professional with an opening round score of 73 or higher.
9. Tiger Woods shot an opening round 70, the same score he shot in the first round of his first three Masters victories. Tiger is the only player to shoot a score of par or better in each of the last nine major championship rounds contested. His score to par of -21 in that span is best of anyone – one ahead of Brooks Koepka (-20) and Francesco Molinari (-20).
10. Each of the previous 13 Masters winners were inside the top-ten after the opening round. A whopping 77% of Masters champions all-time were inside the top-ten after round one. Only one of the last twenty winners was outside the top-15 after the first round: Tiger Woods in 2005 (tied for 33rd).