Augusta update: Campbell leads at -7, Tiger 5 back

April 09, 2009 | Drew Forrester

If Chad Campbell loses the ’09 Masters by two shots or less, he’ll remember being -9 on the 17th tee during Thursday’s opening round and going bogey-bogey to finish with 65.  

If Tiger Woods winds up losing the Masters by two shots or less, he’ll recall a pair of missed short’ish Thursday putts on 16 and 17 for birdie that could – COULD – be the difference come late Sunday afternoon.  Throw in a 10-handicap bogey at #18 when Woods missed the green long from 137 yards — and two near misses for birdie at 11 and 12 — and Woods turned his own 65 into a first round 70.  

The first round of The Masters is in the books and it’s Campbell atop the leaderboard by one shot over Jim Furyk and Hunter Mahan (both with 66).  ’87 champ Larry Mize is two back at -5, along with Shingo Katayama.  A host of players loom three back at -4 including Aaron Baddeley and Tim Clark.

For Woods, he’s likely most pleased with the big club, as he crunched long drive after long drive through the Georgia pines on day one and has completely laid to rest any concerns about the stability and health of his surgically repaired left knee.  

If he turns a few of those misses on the greens into makes on Friday, he’ll be fighting for the lead heading into the weekend.

Plenty of big names stand out, though, and with calm, spring weather on the horizon for Saturday and Sunday, scoring should be low and birdies will be necessary – in bunches – for anyone wanting to have a chance down the stretch.

As for Chad Campbell, he turned a remarkable, record-setting round into just another “great” day of golf by failing to par out at 17 and 18.  Now, at 7-under par, he’s catchable with one bad tee shot or a three-putt.  

It’s anybody’s ballgame at Augusta National.

After two years of iffy weather and par-you-to-death golf, it looks like the ’09 pursuit of the green jacket is going to be a memorable one.