Golf - Pieters gets Masters introduction to Amen Corner

By Steve Keating
Thomas Pieters of Belgium hits off the tenth tee in first round play during the 2017 Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, U.S., April 6, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Segar

By Steve Keating

AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) - After going five-under through the opening 10 holes at his first U.S. Masters on Thursday, Thomas Pieters might have been forgiven for wondering what was so tricky about the Augusta National Golf Club.

The Belgian got his answer at the infamous Amen Corner, the graveyard for countless Green Jacket dreams, when he took a bogey at the 12th hole followed by a double at 13th.

There was also a bogey at 15 and another double at 18 to offset six birdies as the 25-year-old's topsy turvy Masters initiation ended with a level par 72.

"At the start, yeah," said Pieters when asked if he got a lot out of his round.

"At the end, nothing. Didn't really have any bad shots and kind of got penalized. So, it hurts, but after all, not a bad round.

"The last eight, nine holes, right now the wind's picking up and it's not really consistent.

"If you catch the wrong gust at the wrong time, then you look stupid like I did on 12.

"But that's just Augusta, I guess."

On day of baffling gusting winds, Pieters got the full Augusta experience after picking up four shots on an error-free outward nine.

Augusta National bared its famous teeth on the back nine, Pieters taking a five at the par four 11th then finding the water on the par three 12th for another five.

"I hit an eight iron and I had plenty," explained about his visit to Rae's Creek.

"It's actually a short hole, so you're trying to make birdie. It's only an eight iron. But then you can't do anything about wind gusts."

(Editing by Nick Mulvenney)