Coming Up Roses

April 9, 2021

By: Carlos Alvarez


Sergio Garcia

“I feel like I just came out of the ring with Evander Holyfield.”

Round 1 of The Masters threw a lot of punches, but one man rose above.

Letter Rip!



Round 1: Coming Up Roses 

Photo: Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images

Justin Rose (-7) Dominates Treacherous Opening Round at The Masters


On a day when Augusta National was chewing up scorecards and spitting out spirits, one man rose to the challenge… pun intended. Justin Rose shot a remarkable 7-under 65 to take a four-stroke lead after Round 1 of The Masters. He started 2-over through seven before reeling off a near-perfect stretch on the final 10 holes — an eagle on the 8th followed by two pars and seven birdies. The 41-year-old now owns the third-best opening round in Masters history, and his four-stroke lead was one shy of the largest opening-round deficit at Augusta. Rose has never won the green jacket, but he’s finished runner-up twice, including a 2017 playoff loss to Sergio Garcia.


It was all roses for Justin in Round 1, but a different story for everyone else.


The Malignant Masters

The fast and ever-changing conditions of the Augusta greens made red numbers hard to come by in Round 1. Only 12 players entered the clubhouse below par, leaving 76 golfers in the field with black numbers after Thursday. Three of the top-10 favorites head into Round 2 near the bottom of the leaderboard; Rory McIlroy (+4), Bryson DeChambeau (+4) and Patrick Cantlay (+7).


“I fought hard, but I feel like I just came out of the ring with Evander Holyfield, like a 12-round fight. I need to go home and rest.” —Sergio Garcia (+3)


Shot of the Day: Tommy Fleetwood Aces Par-3 16th


The Masters Leaderboard (Round 1)

J. Rose (-7)

B. Harman (-3)

H. Matsuyama (-3)

W. Zalatoris (-2)

C. Bezuidenhout (-2)

W. Simpson (-2)

P. Reed (-2)


Other Notable Scorecards: J. Spieth (-1), J. Kokrak (-1), J. Rahm (E), X. Schauffele (E), J. Thomas (+1), T. Finau (+2), B. Koepka (+2), D. Johnson (+2)


Full Leaderboard | Round 2 Tee Times


Watch: Highlights (Round 1)


Today’s Coverage

3:00 pm-7:30 pm ET, ESPN


Additional Storylines

ESPN: The Day Augusta National & The Masters Fought Back Justin Rose’s Stunning First Round Made a Wickedly Hard Augusta Look Welcoming



The Conforto Controversy

Photo: Mike Stobe / Getty Images

Mets Beat Marlins (3-2) on Controversial Hit-by-Pitch Walk-Off


Home plate umpire Ron Kulpa turned to his right, pointed down the first-base line and began to call a strike, then changed his mind. Thursday’s big controversy in Major League Baseball was the talk of the sports world after The Masters had settled. The Mets won a game with a walk-off, hit-by-pitch call in favor of Michael Conforto. With the bases loaded and one out in the ninth inning of a tied game with Miami, Conforto leaned over the plate to take a would-be strike off the elbow. Game over. Mets win, 3-2.


Marlins manager Don Mattingly was furious after replay clearly showed Conforto crowding the strike zone. The rule states that a batter can’t lean into the strike zone and be rewarded by getting hit, but it’s also a non-reviewable play. Kulpa even admitted his mistake afterwards.


“(Conforto) was hit by the pitch in the strike zone. I should have called him out.” – Umpire Ron Kulpa


Watch: Mets Win On Controversial Hit-by-Pitch Call


MLB Quick-Hitters


Yermin Goes Yard Again: The White Sox 28-year-old rookie Yermin Mercedes was at it again on Thursday with a 485-foot moonshot that nearly one-hopped out of Guaranteed Rate Field. Chicago ace Lance Lynn K’d 11 in a 6-0 shutout against the Royals.


Trout Tattoos 444-Footer: Mike Trout crushed his third home run of the season last night — a rope that disappeared into the night sky — in the Angels’ 7-5 win over the Blue Jays.


Minnesota, The Land of Rakes: The Twins continued their hot start with a 10-2 blowout over the Mariners that included three home runs by Mitch Garver, Byron Buxton and Luis Arraez. Minnesota (5-2) has five players in their lineup batting above .400 through seven games. They rank top-five in hits, extra-base hits, home runs and batting average.



The Frozen Four Finale

Photo: Name / Getty Images

St. Cloud State & UMass to Meet in NCAA Hockey Championship


Three teams from the state of Minnesota entered the Frozen Four, but only one remains as UMass looks to spoil the party. Thursday’s NCAA hockey semi-finals came down to the wire in both games to set up tomorrow’s championship clash. In Game 1, Nolan Walker redirected a slap-shot from Seamus Donohue to give St. Cloud the deciding goal in a 5-4 victory over Minnesota State. It was another dramatic finish in the nightcap as UMass ousted Minnesota Duluth (3-2) with an overtime score from Garrett Wait. We’ll crown another NCAA champion on Monday.


Frozen Four Highlights

St. Cloud State def. Minnesota State (5-4)

UMass def. Minnesota Duluth (3-2)


Championship Game

St. Cloud State vs. UMass (Sat. 7:00 pm ET)



🏀 NBA: Spida Strikes Back

One night after Donovan Mitchell scored 41 points in a Jazz loss, he poured in another 37 points in a win over the Blazers (122-103). Mitchell shot 50 percent from the floor (30-for-60) to get his 78 points in the last two contests.


🏀 NBA: The Clippers are Clicking

The other team from Los Angeles is catching fire at the right time. The Clippers — winners of three in a row and nine of their last 11 — ended the Suns’ seven-game win streak on Thursday (113-103) thanks to 60 points combined from Kawhi Leonard (27) and Paul George (33).


🏒 NHL: A Hatty Birthday

Happy Birthday, Viktor Arvidsson! The Predators’ right-winger scored three goals in Nashville’s 7-1 dismantling of the Red Wings last night, and the hat trick came on his 28th birthday. The Preds have won nine of their last ten.


🏒 NHL: New-Look Isles Win in Shootout

The Islanders won their first game with the newest additions on Thursday. Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac — acquired via trade on Wednesday — were held off the scoresheet, but they beat the Flyers in a shootout (3-2).



⛳ The Ghosts of Masters Past

Augusta National has messed with McIlroy’s head so much, he might as well arrive in a basket. Ever since he stood on the 10th tee in 2011 with the lead, then pulled his tee shot into South Carolina, the place has haunted him. And he’s not alone. (SI Daily Cover)


🏈 The NFL Draft’s Man of Mystery

It did not take Ohio State coach Ryan Day long to warm up to the topic of his draft-eligible quarterback, Justin Fields, and work ethic, and being the “last one in and first one out” in football prep last season. One question, to be exact… (Peter King, NBC)


🏀 New WNBA Jerseys for 25th Anniversary

Glass ceilings and the Space Needle, the 19th Amendment and “Equality.” As part of the WNBA’s 25th anniversary season in 2021, players will wear new Nike jerseys with individual messages and city-specific flourishes for each of the 12 teams. (ESPN)



The Must-Watch List

It’s the quest for the green jacket all weekend long. A full slate of NBA, NHL and MLB is non-stop through April. Don’t miss El Clasico on Saturday and the opening weekend of the NWSL season with the Challenge Cup. We’ll celebrate The Masters champion on Monday. Cheers!


The Masters

Round 2 (3:00 pm—7:30 pm, ESPN)

Round 3 (3:00 pm—7:00 pm, CBS)

Round 4 (2:00 pm—7:00 pm, CBS)



Lakers at Nets (Sat. 8:30 pm)

Celtics at Nuggets (Sun. 3:00 pm)

Heat at Blazers (Sun. 10:00 pm)

Full NBA Schedule



Phillies—Braves Series

Yankees—Rays Series

Astros-Athletics Series

Full MLB Schedule



Rangers at Islanders (Fri. 7:00 pm)

Lightning at Predators (Sat. 8:00 pm)

Capitals at Bruins (Sun. 7:00 pm)

Full NHL Schedule


NCAA Hockey Championship

St. Cloud State vs. UMass (Sat. 7:00 pm)


El Clasico

Real Madrid vs. Barcelona (Sat. 3:00 pm)


NWSL Challenge Cup

Houston Dash vs. Chicago Red Stars (Fri. 8:30 pm)

Portland Thorns FC vs. Kansas City (Fri. 10:30 pm)

N.C. Courage vs. Washington Spirit (Sat. 3:30 pm)

Racing Louisville FC vs. Orlando Pride (Sat. 7:00 pm)


NASCAR Cup Series

Martinsville Speedway (Sat. 7:30 pm)


All Times Eastern*



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