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Amateurs struggle at Augusta National but embrace first Masters experience


Ollie Osborne made his Masters debut Thursday, and the 21-year-old beginner might have change into rattled after bogeying three of the first 4 holes at Augusta National.

But the junior from SMU settled right into a groove — crediting his father, Steve, who’s doubling as his caddie this week — for calming him down. Osborne was stable for the remainder of the day and completed with a 4-over-par 76.

“The first tee shot was a little tough, but we made it through and I felt pretty good out there,” mentioned Osborne, who certified for the eighty fifth Masters by ending runner-up at the U.S. Amateur at Bandon Dunes in August.

“When you bogey your first two holes it’s always a little tough, so it was nice to have someone you really know on your bag, and someone I love there to support me,” Osborne mentioned of his father. “He brings up whatever he wants, whatever comes to mind and we have fun together.”

Osborne had a wonderful up-and-down to avoid wasting par on No. 17. His first birdie of the day got here at the par-5 eighth gap, the place he hit his second shot over the inexperienced, earlier than making an excellent chip to kick-in vary.

He mentioned No. 15 was his most memorable gap of the day.

“I made a pretty good 20-footer on a big slider on No. 15, so that was a nice birdie,” Osborne mentioned.

He mentioned the gradual begin didn’t faze him.

“I didn’t feel like I was doing that bad. I just kind of kept doing my thing. I knew it was coming and I wasn’t nervous or anything,” Osborne mentioned. “I hit some good shots and also some tough ones, but I thought I fought hard.”

U.S. Amateur champ Tyler Strafaci struggles in Masters debut

PGA: Masters Tournament - First Round

PGA: Masters Tournament – First Round

Tyler Strafaci chips onto the second inexperienced throughout the first spherical of The Masters. (Photo: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports)

It wasn’t the spherical that Tyler Strafaci hoped for to open the Masters, but the Georgia Tech grad and reigning U.S. Amateur champion soaked up the whole lot he might in his debut at Augusta National.

Strafaci shot 80 in a spherical and not using a birdie. He discovered Rae’s Creek with a wayward tee shot on No. 12 en path to a triple bogey — but he took his setbacks with an excellent humorousness.

“I had a blast from the first hole on,” mentioned Strafaci, who performed with defending champion Dustin Johnson and Lee Westwood. “On the first tee shot, I’ve never been more nervous in my life, so it was good to kind of hit that one out there. I played really well for about 14 holes and the other four were disastrous. I still feel I can go out tomorrow and play a really good round.

“It was just a surreal experience just being a part of a tournament with such great names and history. It’s definitely something I’m going to look back on in of the future.”

Strafaci is carrying on a household custom at Augusta National; his grandfather, Frank Strafaci Sr., the 1935 U.S. Public Links champion, performed within the Masters in 1938 and 1950.

He by no means met his grandfather, but Tyler Strafaci carries his reminiscence on along with his recreation. Staying within the Crow’s Nest for an evening was a reminiscence he’ll cherish.

“I had a few beers and had a cigar in there,” Strafaci mentioned. “I didn’t burn down the place, which is nice. That was probably the coolest part of being an amateur playing the Masters, staying in the Crow’s Nest with all that history. I remember getting in there, and it really hit me, the gravity of kind of what I’ve done. That was pretty cool.”

Joe Long takes Augusta National caddie in Masters debut

2021 Masters

2021 Masters

Amateur Joe Long of England performs a stroke from the No. 2 tee throughout Round 1 of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club. (Photo: Augusta National)

Joe Long of England certified because the winner of the 2020 British Amateur performed at Royal Birkdale. He had by no means performed a full spherical of golf within the United States till two weeks in the past, when he got here to Augusta for his first follow spherical.

The 23-year-old got here to Augusta with intriguing storylines. His common caddie contracted COVID-19 and needed to miss the Masters, so Long picked up the highly-respected John Chance from Augusta National to hold his bag.

“I was fortunate to have him for all four practice rounds. John has been here for almost 20 years and he’s awesome,” Long mentioned after a follow spherical with Brooks Koepka and Shane Lowry on Wednesday. “He knows the course like the back of his hand, especially on the greens. That’s the biggest thing for me because some of the slopes are so extreme — so to have his knowledge on the bag is really helpful.”

Six weeks in the past Long went on a visit to South Africa with a good friend. He mentioned he tore his left gluteus and has been hampered a bit by it since.

“It was my first time surfing, and I kind of got a little bit ahead of myself,” Long mentioned. “I enjoyed it, but when my friend took us out to the deeper ones I messed up a bit.”

Long had a tough go of it Thursday, capturing an 82 that included a triple bogey on No. 5 and a double on No. 17. He closed out sturdy, although, along with his solely birdie on the day on No. 18, the place he dialed in his method to 2 toes.

“The finish was good,” Long mentioned. “I think it almost went in the hole. So, that’s a bonus. It was just one of those days where you start off OK, quite steady, and then I made a triple on No. 5. I hit one right, and it just unnerved me a bit and took a while to get back into it.”

Dennis Knight covers sports activities for the Savannah Morning News. Contact him at [email protected] Twitter: @DennisKnightSMN

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