If Virginia junior Derek Bard is intimidated at all playing in his first Masters, he sure hasn’t shown it. Bard finished with a (+4) 76 during Thursday's first round at Augusta National. He’ll tee off again at 11:27AM EST in Friday’s second round. At the time of Bard’s finish, he was tied for 60th in the 89-player field.
Bard got off to a steady start during Thursday’s front nine. He played the first eight holes at even par with a birdie on the Par 5 second and a bogey on the Par 4 third. He staggered a bit around the turn with bogeys at nine, ten, and eleven. But he steadied himself with a birdie at the dramatic Par 3 twelfth. After carrying the water with his tee shot, Bard sunk a 32-foot birdie putt to get back to +1. Bard played the last 6 holes at +2, mixing in mid-range par saves on 15 and 17 with bogeys on 16 and 18.
Bard benefited from solid ball-striking early on. He hit fairways and greens in regulation on much of the first nine and put himself in position for birdie chances and two-putt pars. His driving went a little haywire on the second nine; Bard didn’t hit a fairway after the eleventh hole.
With a relatively-solid first round, Bard remains in contention to make the cut. He needs to finish in the Top 50 or within 10 strokes of the leader in order to do so.
The winds at Augusta National were heavier than normal Thursday, and a number of well-known players had trouble.
It should be noted that Bard beat both of his playing partners. 2008 Masters winner Trevor Immelman shot +5, and Robert Streb shot +9.
I wouldn’t be shocked to see Bard’s standing improve during the afternoon as more players move through the second nine.
From a Virginia-fan perspective, it was pretty darn amazing to see a UVA V-Sabres hat being worn on the fairways and greens at Augusta.