Recent history tells us only 10 players still have a chance to win the Masters after the first round

  • The first day of the 2019 Masters is in the books.
  • In the last 13 Masters tournaments, no player outside the top 10 after the opening round has come back to win the tournament.
  • The trend is good news for Brooks Koepka, Bryson Dechambeau, and the eight other players who stand above the field after one day.
  • That said, Tiger Woods was the last player to storm back after a poor opening round to win the green jacket, and this year, he appears to have the confidence to do it again.
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After one day of action at the Masters, the leaderboard is tight, with 43 golfers playing the first round at par or better. But despite the tight race, recent history tells us just 10 players in the tournament have a shot at winning the green jacket after Thursday.

Over the last 13 Masters tournaments, the eventual winner of the Masters was in the top 10 after the first round at Augusta National. While most years, that “top 10” extends past 10 players due to ties, this year there are exactly 10 leading the pack.

Brooks Koepka and Bryson Dechambeau sit atop the leaderboard at 6-under. Phil Mickelson trails them by just one stroke, and Ian Poulter and Dustin Johnson come in just behind Lefty at 4-under.

Five players – Justin Harding, Adam Scott, Jon Rahm, Kiradech Aphibarnrat, and Kevin Kisner – round out the top 10, tied at 3-under after Thursday.

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A strong player taking control of the leaderboard with a strong performance on Friday or Saturday is not out of the question, but a 13-year streak in golf is more of a trend than a coincidence.

If there is a player capable of streaking back into contention, it is Tiger Woods, who was the last player to win the Masters after finishing the first round outside of the top 10.

Woods opened the 2005 Masters with a disappointing round of 74, putting him seven strokes off the lead after the first day. He stormed back in the second round and went on to win his fourth green jacket.

This year, Woods is only four strokes off the lead heading into Friday, and given the confidence he exuded after his round on Thursday, it’s tough to doubt him no matter what happened over the last 13 years.

Read more:

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Other talented players join Woods at 2-under, with Rickie Fowler, Francesco Molinari, and Jason Day all in position to make a run on Friday.

Any of those players are capable of coming back to win the Masters, but if they did, they’d be bucking a trend that’s stood for 13 years at Augusta National.

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