AUGUSTA–Virginia golfer Derek Bard, in his Masters debut, finished round one with a 4-over 76 on Thursday morning. Bard qualified for the tournament after he finished in second place in the 2015 US Amateur Championships, and is the first Virginia golfer to take part in the event since James Driscoll did it in 2011.
Bard was part of the second group to tee off Thursday morning, and performed better than his playing partners, South African Trevor Immelman, the 2008 Masters champion, who finished at 5-over 7, and American Robert Streb, who posted a 9-over 81. Bard’s score puts him ten strokes off leader and defending champion Jordan Spieth, who posted an opening round 6-under 66.
Bard started the round off well, recording a quick birdie on the second hole to put him at 1-under. However, the rest of the round was more of a struggle for the third-year foreign affairs major. His play was consistent through the first eight holes, but he consecutively bogeyed holes 9,10, and 11 before stopping the bleeding with a birdie on hole 12. He also failed to capitalize on either of the two par-5s on the back nine, and ultimately bogeyed both 16 and 18 to go into the clubhouse at 4-over.
Bard finished behind the field in almost every statistical category after the first round, with the strong wind during the round seemingly having an effect on his performance. He hit just 50 percent of the fairways and greens in regulation, both well behind the field averages, which were both at least 60 percent. He was also ultimately neutralized on the greens, the strongsuit of his game, averaging 1.67 putts per hole compared to the field average of 1.68.
Bard did perform well compared to other amateurs on the field Thursday. US Amateur Champion Bryson DeChambeau, a junior at Southern Methodist, and Romain Langasque, British Amateur champion, each finished at even-par 72 and tied for 22nd. Asian Pacific Amateur Champio Chang Jin finished with a 7-over 79, U.S Mid-Amateur Champion Sammy Schmitz finished at 9-over 81, and Latin America Amateur Champion finished at 11-over 82.
Coming into Friday, Bard looks poised to be in contention to make the cut. Given the fact only around 20 members of the field finished under par after the first round, a score of 69 (3-under) or 70 (2-under) could give him a pass to continue into weekend play.
Bard will tee off alongside Immelman and Streb again Friday at 11:27am.