Jordan Spieth’s birdie binge has him 2 up at Masters; Tiger Woods seven shots back

AUGUSTA, Ga. — It took most of Thursday to get in gear, but by dinnertime there they all were, still on the course at Augusta National Golf Club, the shadows growing longer, the Masters growing more appetizing. Phil Mickelson walked up the 18th fairway, tugging on his cap in appreciation. Rory McIlroy rolled in a putt at the 17th, then strutted his most confident strut to the final tee box. Tony Finau, a Masters rookie who nearly became a Masters tragedy, was off answering questions about how he put his first appearance here in absolute jeopardy, yet shot 68 anyway.

But the new reality at the Masters is that until Jordan Spieth has recorded his score, you just don’t know what the theme of the day will be. While all the above transpired, Spieth – playing in the penultimate group of the first round – softly landed his tee shot within a few feet of the par-3 16th. When he drained the putt, he pumped his fist. When he picked the ball from the bottom of the cup, he had, to no one’s surprise, the lead.

Thus, this Masters for which we have waited – tapping our fingers nervously, humming a tune to pass the time – provided precisely what we hoped.

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