Larry Mize surprised to be five under
Larry Mize rarely gets through a week at the Masters without someone asking him about the improbable chip-in on the 11th hole to beat Greg Norman in a playoff. Thursday brought a question not many saw coming.
Does he dare think about winning another green jacket?
Mize turned in one of the most surprising rounds at Augusta National with a 5-under 67 that put him atop the leaderboard for most of the morning and left him only two shots out of the lead after the first round.
“I did not imagine a 67,” he said. “I came out hoping to play a good round.”
Mize turned 50 last September and joined the Champions Tour, playing five times this year, including a tie for 33rd in the Dominican Republic two weeks ago. But he can always plan on that drive down Magnolia Lane because of the Masters title he won in 1987.
“I know I don’t have many more years to be competitive here,” Mize said. “And I need to take advantage of it now.”
He sure took advantage of gorgeous conditions on a gentle course, making three birdies on the opening five holes and watching his name go up on the leaderboard after hitting 5-iron to 15 feet for a birdie on No. 10.
“I’m happy they didn’t have to take it down,” Mize said.
The Augusta native had not even broken par since he shot 67 in the second round in 2000. For whatever reason, he was invigorated driving into the club for the Champions Dinner, reminding himself to enjoy the walk.
“It never gets to be not fun,” Mize said. “It’s disappointing to come here and play poorly. But the way I feel now, I do want to play well, but I’m trying to let go of the frustration and disappointment and just enjoy the fact that I get to come back here every year and play.”