Adam Scott’s Masters title defence is on track despite a double-bogey after going in the water at Amen Corner.
Adam Scott plummeted from cloud nine to splash central but rebounded to keep his Masters defence on track.
Having brushed aside most of the emotion tied to returning to Augusta National as the first Australian Masters champion, Scott jumped to an early two-shot lead through 11 holes.
The 33-year-old was flying along at four-under par, a number he could easily have bettered such was his display, but then succumbed to a reverent moment.
Walking from the 11th green to the 12th tee on Amen Corner, the throng of patrons rose as one to give the Queenslander a standing ovation.
And for a moment, the game plan was lost.
Scott had avoided Rae’s creek in front of the 12th green at Augusta National for 44 competitive Masters rounds but made a donation on Thursday immediately after the prolonged applause, taking a double bogey.
“The reception into every green and almost every tee box was incredible, and the best one, the memory that will stick with me forever today was walking up to the 12th tee and everyone getting out of their seats as I approached there,” Scott said.
“The level of respect that everyone has for this golf tournament and what happens here is great.
“But then I went and hit it in the water. I just lost a little focus on that shot and didn’t commit fully it and paid a price on that one.”
Scott had backed away a few times before leaving the ball well short of his target with his nine-iron.
With the usually robust trees missing following recent ice storm damage, the wind was playing much different than in the past, escaping through the bare leaves instead of swirling around.
“It’s just that back right pin spot. I wasn’t even paying attention to it and it got me,” Scott said.
“I wasn’t trying to hit it over there but it was so little wind, it was probably a problem today, rather than when it’s blowing all kinds of directions.”
Scott’s solid opening round came despite missing a handful of makeable birdie putts, particularly on the par-5s.
Of the four on the course, he only managed to birdie the eighth.
“I’m not going to complain about my round, but it’s disappointing to three-putt both par-5s on the back nine,” Scott said.
“But I feel like I’m playing really well. I think the par 5s are a big key for me here, and I didn’t take advantage of them today and shot 69, so that’s a good indication of the quality of my play.
“Maybe more important was the par save on 18.
“I think I felt like I played good enough to shoot in the 60s today, so that was a nice way to end the day and not walk off shooting 70.”