Notes: Watney fails to find the spark at Augusta
AUGUSTA, Ga. – He entered the week as one of the favorites to win the 75th Masters. So sitting in a share of 46th leaves Nick Watney with an empty feeling.
Since a birdie, birdie, birdie burst got him to the turn in 1 under on Thursday, Watney has made just seven birdies over 45 holes and most inexplicably he is 4 over on the back.
He’s posted 72-72-75.
“Very frustrating, given that coming in I was playing so well,” Watney said. “I felt I was prepared and hadn’t done much differently. All year it’s worked well, so I don’t know; it’s one of those things.”
Showing off a pair of green pants at a place where that color is held in such reverence, Watney was asked what color he would call them. He laughed and said, “I’m the wrong one to ask, because I’m color-blind.”
That means he couldn’t differentiate between between red and black numbers on the board, but he conceded that on this week, “it doesn’t matter.”
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NO SINGLES ALLOWED: As the odd man out in a field of 49 that made the cut, Ernie Els had the choice of going out alone.
Or did he?
“I got on the tee and Jeff (Knox) was there,” said Els, “and we went.”
Knox, arguably the strongest player of the Augusta National members, played as a marker alongside Els, who was one of seven players to make the cut on the number, 1 over. In fact, he holds the course record at 61.
“Yeah, he told me,” Els said.
Having shot 75-70-76, Els didn’t seem to have any patience for such news, but then he broke into a wide smile.
“Pretty impressive from any tees. I don’t care if you play off the ladies’ tees,” Els said. “That’s pretty impressive.”
Els figured his round of 76 had earned him the first spot out again, but no. Kyung-Tae Kim posted 78 and at 7 over 223 is the player who’ll go out – most likely alongside Knox.
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HE’S GOT HALF THE PUZZLE: Having qualified for his second Masters, Steve Marino is enough of a veteran to appreciate the nuances of Augusta National. Yes, he understands that the back nine is where you can do your scoring; he just hasn’t figured out how to do it.
“I’m not sure what it is,” Marino said after failing to break par for a seventh straight time around the famed back nine.
He shot 36 for even-par 72 in yesterday’s third round and for his seven trips he is now 10 over on the back.
On the front, which is historically a bit more difficult to score on, Marino went for 36 yesterday, but is 11 under in his brief time here.
“I’ve got it half figured out,” Marino said.
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AT LEAST HE KNOWS THE PROBLEM: One day after hitting 15 greens in a round of 71, Justin Rose hit 16 – and again shot 71.
“I’ve been really consistent,” Rose said. “But the putter is holding me back. That’s pretty frustrating.”
Through 36 holes, Rose ranked third in greens, T-7 in fairways hit, but T-65 in putting.
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GREAT SCOTT: How impressive was Adam Scott’s third-round 67? In seven previous attempts in the Masters, Scott had never done better than 70 on Saturday and his scoring average was 73.0. But despite a closing bogey, the Aussie is miles ahead of where he normally is entering the final round.
At 7-under 209, Scott is tied for sixth. He’s five off the lead, but considering that his best standing through 54 holes for the seven other Masters he’s made the cut is 13th, Scott is clearly pleased.
“Around here, if (the leaderboard is) crowded, anything can happen,” Scott said. “You can get on a hot stretch and pick up a lot of shots.”
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STILL IN THE PICTURE: He started the day five back and fell even further behind with a round of 72, but if you’re thinking Fred Couples is upset, think again.
“I’m not disappointed. I wish I would have not made (double bogey at the par-5 eighth), but from there on I was just trying to get back to hitting good shots.”
There were a number of them – including birdies at 15 and 16 – so that Couples came home in 72. But at 5 under 211, he’s now seven behind Rory McIlroy.
But in his 27th Masters, Couples has been around long enough to know he has some hope for Sunday.
“With a great round, who knows?”
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A SCORE, THEN A SALE: So, you’ve just fired 5-under 67 to move into a share of second place. What are you going to do, Angel Cabrera?
Actually, we never did get a chance to ask him, but friends said Cabrera made his way down Magnolia Lane, across Washington Road, and over to John Daly’s motorhome to help Long John sell some merchandise.
It seems Cabrera forged a friendship with Daly when they were paired together at the recent Puerto Rico Open and the big man from Argentina wanted to help the marketing cause.
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THIS ‘N THAT: Tiger Woods bogeyed No. 1 for the second straight day as it continues to be his worst hole at Augusta National. He’s 17 over in 65 rounds. ... Woods did his post-round interviews, then marched right to the putting green where he grinded away in front of perhaps 150 patrons. Finally, at about 7:15 p.m. Woods was done and while he didn’t stop for a row of reporters beneath the oak tree at the back of the clubhouse, he did for a fellow Stanfordite – amateur David Chung. Having missed the cut, Chung is still soaking in the atmosphere and he spent a few minutes talking with Woods as they went in opposite directions – Chung up toward the Crow’s Nest, Woods into his courtesy car. ... Luke Donald and Martin Laird made the only birdies at the first hole, which played toughest, a field average of 4.327 . . . . . The only eagle at the par 5 15th was delivered by Y.E. Yang. ... Scott eagled the 13th for a second straight day. ... The 13th might have played easiest (4.531), but don’t tell that to Bill Haas. He made the day’s only double-bogey there. Stunningly, Haas is 3 over on that hole, though he’s 4 under on the 15th. ... The only birdies at the par 4 10th? Jeff Overton and amateur Hideki Matsuyama, the Asian Amateur who shot 68 – one of 11 sub-70 rounds – to vault into a share of 18th.