1 400 YARDS, PAR 4
Of the three of us tied for the lead at 138, Gary Player, Arnold Palmer and myself, I was first off the tee, paired with Dan Sikes. It was a warm day and I felt very relaxed. I had a pretty good idea what the pin positions would be, but before teeing off I took a look at the 18th, the 9th and the 2nd holes. The pin on the first hole was at the left front of the green. Most players like to drive down the right side, figuring this gives them a better position for the second shot. I prefer to approach from the left, because there is more putting surface to shoot at from that angle—an approach from the right may easily go over the green. My tee shot was good, on the left side. I used a sand wedge, and even though I hit it about as well as I ever have, the slight following wind caught it and I ended up 50 feet past the cup. Sikes was over the green with his approach, and when he chipped back too strong I could see how fast the greens were going to be. "Oh, boy," I thought, "this could be some day." I was right, but not quite in the way I had envisioned. I managed to get my long putt within six inches of the hole and made my par.
2 555 YARDS, PAR 5
I knew the pin was on the left side. To be able to bring my second shot in properly for an eagle try I felt I had to fade my tee shot onto the right side of the fairway. The result was nearly disastrous, for I hit my one really poor drive of the Masters. It started down the line of trees on the right and faded even farther right, deep into the woods. As bad as things looked, I was optimistically telling myself that the trees would stop the ball before it went too far. But where skill abandoned me, luck took over. I was 20 or 30 yards into the trees, yet I had a clear shot down the fairway. I hit a three-iron to about 110 yards from the green, then a pitching wedge some 25 feet past the cup. As I was lining up the putt I heard a voice in the gallery behind me say, "It breaks to the right." This got me thinking because I knew the putt had to break to the left. Someone was either kidding me or had money on Arnold. I just tapped the putt and it coasted down the green and into the hole. This is what really got the round started. In my six Masters, I had never played the 2nd hole particularly well, and now, even with a terrible tee shot, I had come out with a birdie. It was going to be my day.
3 355 YARDS, PAR 4
I hit a three-wood off the tee—about 250 yards—to keep the ball on the upslope of the fairway and give myself a better chance to stop the approach shot on a green that is always fast and hard. My wedge kicked in about 10 feet from the hole, but my putt for a birdie was too cautious. Par 4.
4 220 YARDS, PAR 3
The pin was on the left side and I thought a four-iron, hit not too hard, would be just right. It was not the correct club at all, yet two errors added up to one birdie. I hit the four-iron fat, but the ball floated down only eight feet to the left of the hole. What a pleasant surprise! After a break like that I felt sure I would make the putt, and I did.
5 450 YARDS, PAR 4
I hit a good drive into the center of the fairway and, given the distance to the flagstick, 175 yards into a slight wind, would normally have used a five-iron. By now, however, I was getting so charged up I thought I had better drop down to a six-iron. I played the shot pretty well, but I did not allow for enough break on my 20-foot putt. A par.
6 190 YARDS, PAR 3
The pin was in the front of the green, the easiest possible position. I knew the danger of playing short and to the left, so I hit to the right and long. The ball landed on a bank and bounced in, ending up about 20 feet past the hole. It was a fast putt with about a foot of break across a green that is always difficult, but I sank it for a birdie.
7 365 YARDS, PAR 4
I had not driven too well here on the first two rounds, and this time my left foot slipped on the downswing. I should slip more often. The drive was dead straight and I had a perfect lie in the fairway. Many times a player will begin to get nervous when he gets three under par, but for some reason I was not. I just thought to myself, "Here's another birdie hole. Now take advantage of it." I hit as fine a wedge as I ever have. It held the line all the way, had a lot of bite on it and bounced up no more than two feet from the cup. The putt was no problem; my fourth birdie in seven holes.
8 530 YARDS, PAR 5
After a good drive—perhaps 320 yards—down the right side I hit a three-iron up toward the green, reasoning that if I had made a mistake in the choice of club I would rather be short than over. I was short all right—on the green but a good 80 feet from the hole. You can sense how hard to stroke a 15- or 20-foot putt but not how hard to stroke an 80-footer. You just hit and hope. I hit it hard to get it well up the green, and it broke in no more than 18 inches from the cup. So now I had another easy birdie.
9 420 YARDS, PAR 4
Since the pin was on the right side I knew I could cut the left corner of this dogleg with my tee shot. I hit over the corner, past the trees and down to the bottom of the fairway, about 100 yards from the green. My pitch shot went 20 feet beyond the hole and I two-putted. At this moment I was thinking about pulling ahead of the field, not about a record-tying round. My lead, according to the big scoreboard overlooking the 18th green, was four shots. After that I never checked a scoreboard again. I knew that as long as I did not make any bogeys I would not have much to worry about for today.
10 470 YARDS, PAR 4
I hit my tee shot into the right side of the fairway and, since I was about 160 yards from the hole, would normally have used a six-iron. But I felt so strong—and this happens sometimes—that I knew I wouldn't be able to hit a six-iron easy enough, so I decided on an eight-iron. I put it within 20 feet of the hole, two-putting for a par.