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Thursday, April 11, 2013
Updated: April 12, 3:28 AM ET
Can Sergio Garcia keep it going?

ESPN.com

The opening round of The Masters is in the books, with a few surprises on the first page of the leaderboard.

How long can Sergio Garcia stay near the top of the field, and what part of Tiger's game needs the most work? Our experts tackle those topics and more heading into Round 2 at Augusta National.


1. What does Sergio Garcia need to do in Round 2 to do to keep his major championship hopes alive into the weekend?

Sergio Garcia
Sergio Garcia shares the opening-round lead at the Masters.

Paul Azinger, ESPN.com TV analyst: I feel that you can learn from your experiences in life, and sometimes you can never recover from them. To me, Sergio has learned and recovered -- I'm hoping -- and I would like to see him play well. But he's going to have to play well by drawing from his past experiences and learning from them. He'll hit the ball well, but will he have enough of a putter to get it done?

Farrell Evans, ESPN.com senior golf writer: Sergio just needs an even-par round, He doesn't have to do anything crazy. If he goes into the weekend at 6-under, he would be in fine shape.

Bob Harig, ESPN.com senior golf writer: Forget about the past, keep his patience and play without any negativity toward the course. How a top-notch player can say Augusta is not among his favorite places simply boggles the mind. That has never helped his ability to play well here.

Gene Wojciechowski, ESPN.com senior national columnist: Believe in himself. Remember, a year ago this is the place he told the Spanish media that he didn't have the game to win a major.


2. More likely on the leaderboard come Sunday: Fred Couples or David Lynn?

Paul Azinger: Fred Couples, because of his experience and familiarity and positive recall. He believes he can do it here. I believe he still thinks he can win, or he wouldn't come.

Farrell Evans: Couples has a great record at the Masters. Lynn is playing in his first one. I would put my money on Couples.

Bob Harig: Fred Couples. Lynn is a great story, having finished second at the PGA Championship to qualify for the Masters, which is just his third major. But first-timers traditionally have their issues at Augusta National

Gene Wojciechowski: Couples can play this course in his sleep. What he can't do is play it with a bad back. If his back holds up, he'll move ahead of Lynn.


3. What part of Tiger's game shined brightest in Round 1 and which could use a little work?

Paul Azinger: I think his mental approach was pretty bright. He still looked and appeared very confident. I'm just thinking that (confidence) was the best part of his game. Last year he seemed he was really on edge for some reason -- this year he's the most confident player in the field and it showed today.

Farrell Evans: There is always something "off" with Tiger, but when he wins he finds a way to beat you with grit and determination. I like that he stayed patient. That's a major element in his arsenal. And he could always use some work on his driving. That's never-ending.

Bob Harig: Probably his driving. He hit some huge drives, and gave himself some chances from the fairway. He didn't hit his irons well enough, nor did he putt well enough, to get farther under par.

Gene Wojciechowski: Tiger grinded. No other way to put it. His wedge game wasn't sharp. And he put himself in some tough spots off the tee. There's plenty to work on.


4. Bigger surprise: Tianlang Guan's 73 or Ian Poulter's 76?

Paul Azinger: The kid shooting 73 is probably eight or nine shots lower than what the average over-under would have been. I thought the over-under would be 81, 82. What a round. Look at all the players he beat. He beat the defending champion. He's 14.

Farrell Evans: Guan's 73 was a bigger surprise. I thought he would shoot an easy 80. Poulter doesn't have a great record in the majors -- six top-10s in 40 appearances.

Bob Harig: No question, Guan. Many wondered if he could break 80. His small stature and inability to drive it far enough had plenty concerned about playing such a big course at such a young age.

Gene Wojciechowski: Poulter's 76 is a bit of a shocker, but I think very few people expected Guan to leave Augusta National Thursday night with a 73 -- and a birdie on 18.