Amateur Chung feels the pressure of Augusta
AUGUSTA, Ga. – David Chung took one deep breath before addressing his ball on Augusta National’s first tee. The relaxation technique is usually effective, but Augusta National is no ordinary setting.
Photos: Masters Thursday
From Arnie and Jack to action on the course, the Masters on Thursday.
“It seemed like there was no oxygen coming into my lungs,” Chung, a Stanford junior, said. “Not only are there people all around you, but there are people lining the fairways. It's very different."
Chung, the U.S. Amateur runner-up, sent his first tee shot into those patrons left of the first fairway. With 180 yards remaining, he had to hit his second shot over a tree, short and right of the green. A chip and a 5-foot putt later, and his first Masters round was underway with a par.
Chung was 2 under par after 15 holes, but bogeyed the final two holes for 72.
“He enjoyed the day,” Stanford head coach Conrad Ray said. “He’s been working really hard on his short game and it showed today.”
Chung’s short game was key on a day when he hit just nine fairways of 14 fairways and 10 greens. The highlight of his day may have been a 240-yard hybrid shot on the 450-yard, par-4 seventh after his tee shot struck a tree. The ball bounced into the fairway, barely past the crosswalk. He hit hybrid 15 feet from the hole on the narrow, elevated green.
Chung's intstructor, Adam Schriber, caddied for Chung on Thursday. Schriber also instructs Anthony Kim, who finished third in last year’s Masters. Chung and Kim are good friends and played practice rounds together earlier in the week. That relationship paid dividends on Thursday.
“(Anthony) was very helpful in telling me where the pins are and where the good misses are,” Chung said. “They’re very intimidating pins, but if you miss them in the right places you can have a good shot at getting up-and-down.”
Chung has another helpful connection at Augusta National: he was on the United States team at the 2010 World Amateur Team Championship. The squad was captained by Fred Ridley, a former U.S. Amateur champion and Augusta National member. Chung used Ridley’s caddie, Rowdy Dunn, to gain local knowledge during practice rounds the week prior to the tournament.
Chung’s form had been off the standard he set this summer, when he won the Porter Cup and Western Amateur and was runner-up in the U.S. Amateur. He finished 58th in his last college event preceding the Masters, the Linger Longer Invitational March 27-29 in Greensboro, Ga., which was held one week after Stanford's final exams. After the tournament, Chung, of Fayetteville, N.C., spent a few days with his family in Atlanta before coming to Augusta. He didn’t practice, using the time to relax before what was guaranteed to be a hectic week. He came to Augusta National this past Friday.