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Friday morning at the Masters: Plenty to like on the leaderboard

  • Blog Post by: Jim Souhan
  • April 12, 2013 - 8:46 AM

The second round has begun, and Trevor Immelman, the Masters champ in 2008, has birdied No. 2 to reach five-under par, good for third place.

Observations after a day and a sliver of the tourney:

-David Lynn, tied for fifth after the first round, is a bit of a character. The Englishman was fairly unkown until he shot consecutive 68s at the PGA Championship last year to finish second to Rory McIlroy.

He's a prankster, and a ``planker.'' That's the act of pretending you're a plank, and laying with arms tightly to your side in unusual positions. (No, I don't get it either.) He said he's cut back on the pranks and planking and won't be doing any of that at Augusta. ``I want to be welcomed back,'' he said.

-Dustin Johnson has come close to winning the other three majors - remember him grounding his club on loose sand at Whistling Straits at the PGA in 2010? - and says his game is best-suited to The Masters. He loves hitting driver, hits it a mile, and, depending on the conditions, sometimes has a short iron in to the back-nine par 5s that so often determine the winner here.

He begins the day tied for third.

-Fred Couples is 53, but he plays well here regardless of age. He's tied for fifth after an opening 68. He won here in 1992 only because his tee shot to the par-3 12th hung up on the bank rather than sliding into Rae's Creek. He has always played here as if blessed by the golf gods.

He's made the cut in 26 of his 28 Masters appearances, and he clearly loves playing here.

Can he win? As with most entrants of any age, the answer is ``probably not.'' But if Tom Watson can come close to winning the British Open at the age of 59 in 2009, why can't Couples compete on a course perfectly suited to his game?

He says he'll play The Masters until he doesn't think he can win. Whcih, of course, means, he thinks he can win now.

-First rounds are rarely definitive, but the first day of The Masters was remindful of how rare golf is in terms of inclusiveness to all ages.

Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Arnold Palmer hit ceremonial tee shots. Tianlang Guan shot a 73 at the age of 14, then said he'd like to someday win all four majors in one year. Couples put himself into contention at 53. And Sergio Garcia, who has seen past his prime for years, is tied for the lead.

How old is he? Just 33.

-I'll be on 1500ESPN at noon for my regular weekday hit. Sunday, we'll have the Ron Gardenhire Show at 9:30, followed by Sunday Sports Talk from 10-noon.

 

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