Day, Bubba lose ground after back-nine collapses


AUGUSTA, Ga. – Augusta National’s back nine caused major problems for Bubba Watson and Jason Day on Thursday. 

Finishing about a half hour apart, Watson played his last 10 holes in 6 over, while Day gave back five shots over the final four holes.

Watson shot a 3-over 75 in the first round of the Masters; Day turned in a 72.   

Let's start with Watson, who moved to 3 under after a birdie on the par-5 eighth. He bogeyed the ninth, then said he got fooled by the wind on the 11th, 12th and 15th holes. On 16, Watson hit what he thought was a good tee shot, but the wind didn’t hold up his ball and it landed in the pond, leading to a double.

“To be dead honest with you,” he said, “there’s no sting. It’s just one of those things. … Today wasn’t my day, but around this golf course, with the wind the way it’s supposed to be the next couple of days, I can still get back in this.” 

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Day was 5 under, just one off the lead, before a miscalculation on the par-5 15th. He didn’t hit his layup far enough down the hill, leaving him an awkward yardage (83 yards) for his into-the-wind third shot. Stuck between his 52- and 60-degree wedges, he opted for more club but pushed his shot to the fat part of the green. He three-putted from 35 feet.

On 16, Day found the water, like Watson, and made triple bogey after three-putting from above the slope. He also dropped a shot on 17. 

“I’m not too frustrated with how everything went,” Day said. “There was only four bad holes, really, in amongst some really terrific golf.”