Aussie amateur's incredible moment on debut at the Masters

Andrew Reid
·4-min read
Lukas Michel is pictured here chipping in for birdie at Augusta National's 12th hole.
Aussie amateur Lukas Michel will look back on his chip-in birdie at the 12th with fond memories. Pic: PGA Tour

Australia's Lukas Michel has every reason to remember his first round at the Masters fondly, after an unforgettable moment at the 12th hole.

Paul Casey grabbed the headlines with a stunning seven-under-par 65 in his opening round, to give him a two-shot lead before play was suspended.

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While Aussie amateur Michel couldn't match those lofty heights from the English star, he did have a brilliant moment to savour in an otherwise difficult round.

Michel was given a first-hand reality check about how treacherous the Augusta course can be after finishing his first round in a tie for 85th at four-over par.

However, the 26-year-old had plenty to smile about at the tricky par-three 12th hole.

Michel's tee shot found the fringe just off the green, with a small slope and an undulating green between him and the cup.

Executing a perfectly lofted chip shot, the Aussie's second effort hit the edge of the green before trickling straight into the cup for a sensational birdie.

Scott the best of the Aussie contingent

Leading the Aussie charge is former champion Adam Scott, who rebounded brilliantly from a bout of coronavirus to sit dangerously placed near the top of the leaderboard.

The 2013 champion was four under par through 10 holes, trailing clubhouse leader Paul Casey by three shots, when the opening round was suspended due to darkness.

Fellow Australians Marc Leishman and Jason Day overcome rough starts in wet conditions to card two-unde 70s to also be well in the mix.

Played in November for the first time due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the opening round was delayed by thunderstorms for almost three hours not long after it began on Thursday.

Diagnosed with COVID-19 last month, Scott was sitting in a tie for fifth spot after reeling off four birdies in a flawless front-nine 32.

Seen here, Adam Scott watches his drive off a tee shot at the Masters.
Adam Scott is the best-placed Aussie at four-under in the first round of the Masters. Pic: Getty

Leishman and Day were sharing 21st position, five shots back of Casey, who notched a sizzling seven-under 65.

But it could have been worse as things looked bleak for Leishman and Day early on.

As part of one of the first few groups to hit the course, Leishman had missed the 10th green in regulation before the horn blew to stop play, the first time an opening Masters round has utilised both the first and 10th tees due to daylight concerns.

When play resumed, the Victorian was unable to get up and down for par and stayed one-over until a brilliant approach to the par-5 13th from the pine straw set up an eagle putt from three metres that he duly buried.

A further two birdies on his round were countered by just one more bogey on the 17th hole, a welcome sign after six months of struggling with his game.

"I could have shot a really low score today so it's a little frustrating to miss some chances but, given where I've been leading in to the tournament, I'll take the 70 and move on," Leishman said.

"Hopefully I can keep hitting it this well. It might have been one of my all-time ball striking days. And if I make putts to go with it, then I might have a chance."

Day opened with two bogeys in his first seven holes to look out of contention before a run of five birdies in his next seven had the former world No.1 rocket up the leaderboard.

But just as he was looking ominous, he dumped his approach shot on the par-5 15th into the water and took bogey.

He almost found the water on the par-3 16th, too, but saved par before also signing for a 70 on his 33rd birthday.

Cameron Smith was even par through 10 holes at the close of play.

with AAP

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