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Began In '96

The Masters, day one: 4 big names that could miss the cut

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By Joe Schackman

Whenever Tiger Woods is within striking distance of the lead after the first day of a major, it evokes the old saying: You can’t win a golf tournament on the first day, but you certainly can lose it. There’s still plenty in store this weekend, and especially with Woods on the prowl, Marc Leishman and Sergio Garcia will face a nasty fight to stay on top.

As for those farther down the leader board, however, a few notable names are close to seeing their time on the course cut pathetically short.

Hunter Mahan: Mahan should have a major by now. He’s talented, has won before on the PGA Tour and seems to hang around the top of the leaderboard during big tournaments. But that’s all somewhat of an illusion. Mahan has missed the cut in two of his six Masters, and has only finished as high as eighth. In all other majors, Mahan has just two top-10 finishes. At +4 after the first day, he’ll have a lot of work to do to add to that relatively thin resume.

Kevin Streelman: Far from a household name, Streelman is nevertheless off to a strong start this year, making the cut in seven of his first nine events and notching the first win of his career last month. He was the leading under-the-radar candidate to make some noise at the Masters, but also sits at 4+ and couldn’t seem to figure out how to attack holes 11 through 15.

Bubba Watson: The guy won the whole freaking thing last year, and yet few picked him to win again. For good reason: The 2012 Masters was the last time he actually played well. Since then, Watson’s welcomed a child into the world, and golf has fallen a bit by the wayside. There’s a good chance he gets to spend time with that kid while watching the tournament this weekend, rather than playing in it.

Tom Watson: Just three years ago, Watson sat one shot off the lead going into the second round. No such luck this year for the 63-year-old. Maybe the British Open will be more his speed.

 

All four will need some help to get back into the mix, but the Masters’ limited field gives them a better chance than normal. If they can get within 10 shots of the leaders and make the weekend, all bets are off. It’s a long shot, but luckily for them (and us) they don’t have to pack their bags quite yet.

Joe Schackman is an editor and co-founder of Began in ‘96.