We look back at the winners of The Masters since the turn of the century and see how they fared in their opening rounds - is there a clear correlation between a good start and winning the green jacket? By Lewis Blain.


What Does The Masters Winner Score On Day One?

The Masters is a unique major among the four on offer each calendar year as it is the only major to be played on the same course every single year – Augusta National in Georgia, USA.

The winning score in the 21st century has ranged from 1-over-par when Zach Johnson won in 2007, to a joint-record of 18-under-par set by Jordan Spieth in 2015.

Some years the weather will, of course, dictate how tough the course will really play over the week – as such in 2007 when the tournament was dubbed as one of ‘the coldest ever Masters’ – but it is still interesting to look at the average first-round score of the winners.

This would suggest that a Masters winner would have to break 70 in his first round in order to be in contention on Sunday, with the average at a 3-under-par 69.

But only between 2008 and 2015 did the winner do just that, the years either side of that run show that no player broke 70 in their opening round.

Only former world number one and four-time Masters champion Tiger Woods scored over-par for his first round this century – with a two-over 74 in 2005.

Two shots higher than the next worst opening round score.

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Jordan Spieth has recorded the best opening round score in the last 18 years with an 8-under-par 64 in 2015.

The record is a 9-under-par set by Greg Norman in 1996, where he infamously threw away a six shot lead to Sir Nick Faldo.

Spieth would go on to become the youngest ever wire-to-wire winner of The Masters as well as breaking the records for the lowest 36-hole and 54-hole score at Augusta National.

Jordan Spieth celebrates his 2015 Masters triumph on the 18th hole at Augusta National.
(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Therefore, it would seem that a player needs to have a positive and steady start to his week – rather than pulling ahead on the opening day or starting a very long way back when they tee off on Friday.

A better trend would be to say that the eventual green jacket winner has to break 70 in at least one of his four rounds that week.

Even Johnson in 2007 scored 69 on the final day to finish 71-73-76-69.

Not every winner has even broke par during their final round, Trevor Immelman scored 3-over-par to close before winning in 2008.

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