Former University golfer Patrick Reed shoots a 70 in the first round of the Masters _lowres

Patrick Reed watches his shot to the eighth green during the first round of the Masters golf tournament Thursday, April 9, 2015, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Patrick Reed is saving his red golf shirt for Sunday as usual.

But his score was in the red in Thursday’s first round of the Masters, a 2-under-par 70 that is his first subpar round here and had him tied for 12th.

“I was pleased with the number,” said Reed, the former University High golf phenom. “But at the same time I felt like I left a lot of shots out there.”

Reed recovered time and again from wayward shots that led to bogeys. He blocked his tee shot on the first hole right into the trees for a bogey 5 but rebounded with a birdie on the par-5 second.

He bogeyed 9 and 10 to fall to 1-over but rallied with birdies on the par-4 11th (one of three birdies on Thursday’s toughest hole) and birdied the par-5 13th and 15th. Reed missed two birdie chances from inside 10 feet on 17 and 18 to go even lower.

“I just need to go tighten up the driver and continue hopefully making some of those downhill sliders,” Reed said. “That’s key around here. If I continue doing that, hopefully come Sunday I’ll have a chance.”

Reed shot 73-79 to miss the cut last year in his first Masters. The former Augusta State star who led the school to a pair of NCAA team titles played Augusta National Golf Club several times in college.

Defending and two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson shot a 1-under 71 with Lafayette native Ted Scott caddying for him. It was an up-and-down round, finishing with a bogey on the 18th.

Reed tees off Friday’s second round at 11:20 a.m. CDT, while Watson tees off at 11:42 a.m.

Ceremonial start

Jack Nicklaus joined four-time winner Arnold Palmer and three-time champion Gary Player at 7:40 a.m. Thursday for the ceremonial tee shots that traditionally start the Masters.

Palmer, the oldest at 85, hit first. He hadn’t swung a club since December because of a shoulder injury but managed to get his shot airborne — even if it flew short and left just over the packed gallery.

“ ‘Don’t fan it,’ ” Palmer said to himself.

Player, 79, and Nicklaus, 75, hit down the middle, with Player’s drive traveling the farthest into the crest of the first fairway’s big hill.

Asked at a news conference afterward who hit it the farthest, Palmer playfully blurted out, “I did!”

Watson, wearing his green jacket, was out to watch the “Big Three” tee off, along with Rickie Fowler and Keegan Bradley, the latter teed off with Reed about 80 minutes later.

“It shows they have respect for the game,” Player said. “I remember Jock Hutchinson used to tee off here (as the ceremonial starter). I used to watch him always.

“I never got up that early,” Nicklaus cracked.

Crenshaw cringeworthy

This will be the 44th and final Masters for two-time champion Ben Crenshaw.

Sadly, perhaps Gentle Ben should have quit already.

Crenshaw struggled to a 19-over 91, the worst score of his professional career. The round included a quadruple bogey 8 on 11, a triple bogey 7 on 18, five double bogeys and remarkably back-to-back birdies on 12 and 13.

The worst Masters round ever was by amateur Charles Kunkle, who carded a 95 in 1956 in the final round.

Cut day Friday

Following Friday’s second round, the Masters field will be cut to the low 50 players and ties or anyone within 10 strokes of the lead.

The last word

“I played them brilliantly, but the hole is moving.”

— Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez on going 7-over from holes 10-15. He shot a 78.