AUGUSTA, Ga. --- Chattanooga Mocs senior Steven Fox opened the 77th Masters with a four-over par round of 76, He played his first nine holes at even par, turning at 36, before shooting 40 on the back nine.
He is tied for 70th with playing partner Ian Poulter, Ben Curtis, Paul Lawrie, Hunter Mahan, Ted Potter, Jr., Kevin Streelman, Robert Garrigus, Carl Pettersson, Martin Laird and Branden Grace. His other group member today, 2012 Champ Bubba Watson shot 75.
Marc Leishman and Sergio Garcia lead at six-under 66. Dustin Johnson is third, a stroke back at 67, while six are tied for fourth at 68, minus four, headlined by former champion Fred Couples.
Fox’s card included one birdie, 12 pars and five bogeys. He hit four of 14 fairways, nine of 18 greens and had 31 putts.
Q. How big were the butterflies on 1?
STEVEN FOX: They were there. You know, on the driving range I was fine, putting was good, and then that first tee shot, the swing felt a little different. And then again on 2, I hooked it left. But fortunately after the first two holes, to be +1 and then the swing came back around on three, and I was good from there.
Q. Talk about the Crow's Nest and your night there.
STEVEN FOX: I was the only one up there, but it wasn't too bad. I left my parents' house, came back around 10:30, got everything ready for today, and then just went to sleep and actually had the best night's sleep out of all the nights.
Q. How many hours of sleep did you get?
STEVEN FOX: Eight. Not too bad. Finally slept through the night.
Q. How were the galleries with Bubba, playing with him, and then Tiger behind you?
STEVEN FOX: It was fun. I enjoyed it. After the second tee shot my nerves went away. I was confident with my swing. The noise of the galleries didn't bother me. I enjoyed 16 today, got a little roar there, hitting a good shot, which is awesome. Feels like I have a lot of fans out there, so the more the galleries, the better.
Q. Brandt Snedeker gave you some advice during the par 3 tournament and said you Tennessee guys have to stick together?
STEVEN FOX: Yeah, absolutely. Brandt is a really good guy. I asked him on the par 3, I said, does anybody really take this thing serious, the par 3? He said, no, not at all. It was great playing with Luke, as well, watching his wedge game, since he's a phenomenal wedge player. It was just awesome being around them.
Q. You played with a defending champion and a Ryder Cup hero. What was that like?
STEVEN FOX: It was awesome. Bubba is a really good guy, Ian is a really good guy. Obviously they didn't have their best games today, as well, but hopefully tomorrow we can come out and make a move.
Q. You're still confident you've got a chance to make the cut?
STEVEN FOX: Oh, yeah, absolutely. I missed multiple, multiple birdie opportunities. I struck the ball well, played the par 5s I think even, and then I played the par 3s well, and the par 4s weren't too bad. Just got to make those birdie opportunities.
Q. Is that the disappointment, not making putts because you were confident with the putter coming in?
STEVEN FOX: Exactly. If I made the putts that I had there was one on the one on seven just snuck by, and then two par 5s, 13 and 15, missing five footers that weren't that difficult of putts, if I made just those two, or two out of the three, shoot 2 over and inside the cut line probably.
Q. You made a really good bogey on 2 all things considered where you drove it.
STEVEN FOX: Yeah, I think the par on 1 was a little better, but probably that's the most left I've ever been on No. 1. Got a little scared on that wedge shot, seeing it hop behind. But it spun right back there, and making a 12 footer for par was a great way to start.
Q. Did you have a goal set out for this week?
STEVEN FOX: Obviously to make the cut, but if I play well and miss the cut, I'm not going to be disappointed, but obviously I didn't play great today. But if I come out there tomorrow and make a few more putts, I'll be here on the weekend.
Q. What do you think you'll remember the most about today?
STEVEN FOX: I don't know. I'll probably remember just those butterflies on 1, but then also those great shots that I hit out there. It's awesome hitting some good shots and having the crowd roar. I had a putt on 9 that took it 25 feet left of the hole after Bubba gave me a great read and having the crowd get a little louder and louder, and then you get the rights out there, which is a disappointment. But it’s fun hitting great shots out here and hearing everybody.
Q. How much did it help to have Brad and Scott Stallings who went through this process last year, first timers, kind of rely on them
STEVEN FOX: Yeah, I came out here probably about six months ago with Scott. David Ingram, a member here, took us down, and Scott kind of showed me the ropes around here. I learned a lot about the golf course and how to get around the place. But he told me where not to hit it, where to hit it. But overall, not too bad.
Q. Is it crazy to think all this started back at Willow Creek, a 73 in the first round?
STEVEN FOX: 74 64, and then made it by one. I had a shank in the first round, which was fun. I mean, you've got to start somewhere, I guess.