Masters: Can Sergio Garcia Make A Run?

AUGUSTA, Ga. -The Johnson category is wide open too. Zach went for 69 and Dustin for 67. If you’re low Johnson come Sunday, are you the winner?

And then, of course, there was Fred, with his time-capsule 68, making loose swings, talking to his golf ball, playing for keeps. Fred, showing intensity. Something to see. He’s 53, with the back of a 63-year-old and the swing of a 33-year-old and an ability to play at Augusta that will not quit.

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Can you imagine him slipping into a green coat on Sunday night and justifying beyond a doubt the legitimacy of his Hall-of-Fame induction next month? Dream the dream, people, and damn the reality (that Couples carries a belly putter for a reason).

The first-round leaderboard, on a blowy almost muggy day, was so outrageously interesting you hardly noticed that Tiger Woods (70) or Phil Mickelson (71) or Rory McIlroy (72) were not even on it by day’s end. The people selling the game like to say that we are in a golden era of interesting, international, do-it-your-way golf. And they’re correct! You want proof? Take me to your leaderboard.

There’s Rickie Fowler, with his fast swing and surprisingly patient way. Refusing to be undone by double bogeys at the 1st and 10th holes, he rallied to a wildly entertaining 68, with six birdies and an eagle, at the 15th.

Attention must be paid to the 68 shot by the Englishman David Lynn, who slipped into last year’s PGA Championship as the 98th-ranked player in the world, walked out with a second, a check for $865,000 and his first invitation to the Masters.

For more on this story visit: Michael Bamberger, Senior Writer, Sports Illustrated