The Masters: Cameron Smith 'disappointed' with four under opening round

By Sports Desk April 07, 2022

Australia's Cameron Smith had mixed feelings after his first round at The Masters on Thursday.

Smith finished the day with a four-under 68, which was enough for outright second on the leaderboard, trailing leader Sungjae Im by one stroke.

It was an action-packed day for the most famous mullet on tour, tallying a round-high eight birdies, but shooting himself in the foot with double-bogeys on the first and last hole.

Speaking to the media after stepping off the 18th green, Smith said he is not going to dwell on his painful ending to his round.

"I’ve moved on already," he said.

"The less you guys bring it up, the quicker I’ll forget about it. I’m done with it. I think the stuff in between was really nice, and [I'll] just take the positives out of it.

"I feel like I played some really solid golf today, and to be four under is a little bit disappointing. 

"But given the condition of the golf course, and the condition with the wind and stuff like that, if you had given me four under at the start of the day, I would have taken it.”

Touching on his double-bogeys, Smith said they were more of a case of misreads rather than mis-hits.

"To be honest, those couple of double-bogeys really didn’t have too bad a shots in them," he said. "It’s not like I was scratching it out of the trees. 

"I got my second shot into a reasonable spot, and just misjudged the wind on both wedges."

In a spectacular run of form, which includes a win at The Players Championship this year, Smith credits his ascension to increased professionalism off the course.

"I feel as though the last five or six years I’ve been really inconsistent with my training, and probably the last eight months or so I’ve been just really consistent," he said.

"I’ve made lots of good changes, I think, to my body, and I just feel like I’m able to walk off the golf course and not be wrecked.

"Most of the time I feel pretty fresh walking off the golf course, which is a feeling I don’t think I had for a long time, and it’s I think why my game has probably got a lot more consistent through four rounds.

“I lost a little bit of weight – my body moves a little bit quicker when I don’t have so much around my belly. 

"I think I’ve definitely started to see my driver going probably a little bit further, definitely the swing speed up a little bit.

"I just need to – now I think the next step is just being able to control that and hit more fairways."

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    Rory McIlroy bemoaned the woeful pace of play after seeing his bid for a career grand slam blown off course on day two of the Masters.

    McIlroy’s birdie-free second round of 77 took an incredible six hours and two minutes to complete alongside Xander Schauffele and Scottie Scheffler, the world number one’s 72 giving him a share of the halfway lead with Max Homa and Bryson DeChambeau on six under par.

    McIlroy, who slumped to four over, said: “Tough day, really tough day.

    “Just hard to make a score and just sort of trying to make as many pars as possible. I felt like I did okay. I made that bogey on 14, and even just to par the last four holes and get in the clubhouse and have a tee time tomorrow, I’m sort of pretty happy with.”

    Asked about the pace of play, McIlroy said: “It felt long, yeah. Especially that 11th hole, it felt like it took an hour to play that hole.

    “It was stop and start, hard to get into a rhythm with the conditions and obviously how slow the play was as well.”

    He continued: “I won from 10 back [at halfway] in Dubai at the start of the year, but obviously the Dubai Desert Classic and the Masters are two very different golf tournaments.

    “We’ll see. Hopefully the conditions are a little better tomorrow. Yeah, I still think I can go out tomorrow and shoot a low one, get back into red numbers, and have half a chance going into Sunday.”

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    McIlroy struggled to a birdie-free second round of 77 at a windswept Augusta National to fall 10 shots off the lead shared by world number one Scottie Scheffler, Max Homa and Bryson DeChambeau.

    Woods was three shots closer to the leaders after a battling 72 saw him make a record 24th consecutive cut in the Masters, with the whole field separated by 12 shots after the cut fell at six over par.

    McIlroy said: “I won from 10 back [at halfway] in Dubai at the start of the year, but obviously the Dubai Desert Classic and the Masters are two very different golf tournaments.

    “We’ll see. Hopefully the conditions are a little better. I still think I can go out and shoot a low one, get back into red numbers, and have half a chance going into Sunday.”

    Woods sounded more optimistic than McIlroy when asked to assess his position.

    “It means I have a chance to win the golf tournament,” Woods said.

    “I’m right there. It’s really bunched. The way the ball is moving on the greens, chip shots are being blown, it’s all you want in a golf course.”

    Shot of the day

    Former champion Danny Willett holed his approach to the eighth for an eagle.

    Statistic of the day

    Top statistician Justin Ray highlights the tough task for the chasing pack.

    Quote of the day

    “You can be made to look like an idiot out there today by not doing too much wrong” – Shane Lowry on the difficulty presented by the strong, swirling winds.

    Hardest hole

    The 11th played as the hardest hole for the second day running with just one birdie, 30 bogeys and 10 double bogeys leading to a scoring average of 4.494.
    Easiest hole

    The par-five second hole was the easiest, yielding one eagle, 42 birdies and just six bogeys for a scoring average of 4.607.

    Key tee times (all BST)

    1555 Rory McIlroy, Camilo Villegas
    1745 Tiger Woods, Tyrrell Hatton
    1915 Ludvig Aberg, Matthieu Pavon
    1935 Scottie Scheffler, Nicolai Hojgaard
    1945 Max Homa, Bryson DeChambeau

    Weather forecast

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  • Tiger Woods eyeing another major after making record-breaking Masters cut Tiger Woods eyeing another major after making record-breaking Masters cut

    Tiger Woods refused to give up on his dream of a 16th major title after making a record 24th consecutive cut in the Masters on another windswept day at Augusta National.

    Woods completed 23 holes in more than seven hours on the course on Friday, a remarkable effort from the injury-ravaged 48-year-old which prompted a standing ovation from the spectators around the 18th green.

    The five-time Masters champion had to shield his face from sand whipped from the bunkers on the last before tapping in to complete a second round of 72 for a halfway total of one over par.

    That left Woods seven shots off the lead shared by playing partner Max Homa, world number one Scottie Scheffler and Bryson DeChambeau, who could only add a 73 to his opening 65.

    “It means I have a chance to win the golf tournament,” Woods said.

    “I’m right there. I don’t think anyone is going to run off and hide right now, but it’s really bunched. The way the ball is moving on the greens, chip shots are being blown, it’s all you want in a golf course today.”

    Asked about his 24th consecutive cut, Woods – who had shared the record of 23 with Freddie Couples and Gary Player – said: “I’ve always loved playing here.

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    “The years I have missed, I wish I was able to play because there’s such an aura and mystique about playing this golf course that, unless you have played and competed here, you probably don’t really appreciate.”

    Woods was one of 27 players unable to complete their first rounds on Thursday following a lengthy weather delay, the 15-time major winner covering his first 13 holes in one under par.

    Play resumed at 0750 local time (1250BST) on Friday and Woods bogeyed the 14th and 18th to complete a 73 which left him with just 49 minutes to rest, refuel or practise before he got his second round got under way.

    A rollercoaster front nine consisted of three pars, three bogeys and three birdies, including a superb chip-in on the sixth, with a more sedate back nine adding up to a battling 72.

    “It’s been a long day,” Woods said with a smile. “It was a good fight.”

    Asked what it was like playing alongside Woods after adding a 71 to his opening 67, Homa said: “It was awesome. It really is a dream to get to play with him here.

    “I always wanted to just watch him hit iron shots around here, and I was right up next to him. It was really cool.

    “His short game was so good. I don’t think I can explain how good some of the chip shots he hit today were.

    “He’s special. We had a really quick turnaround, and if I was feeling tired and awful, I imagine he was feeling even worse.

    “And on 18, we had sandblasts for 45 seconds, and I turned around five times so I didn’t get crushed in the face, and he’s standing there like a statue and then poured it right in the middle.

    “So all the cliches you hear about him and all the old stories about how he will grind it out, it was fun to see that in person.”

    With winds gusting up to 42mph, the pace of play was funereal and the penultimate group of Scheffler, Rory McIlroy and Xander Schauffele took six hours and two minutes to complete 18 holes.

    Scheffler added a 72 to his opening 66 and Schauffele returned a second consecutive 72 to remain level par, but McIlroy struggled to a birdie-free 77 to slump to four over.

    Defending champion Jon Rahm was a stroke further back following a 76, with the cut falling at six over to allow two-time winner Jose Maria Olazabal to make the weekend at the age of 58.

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