Thursday, April 09, 2009

A nice way to start

The Masters has gone soft.

In apparent response to complaints that Augusta National had become too difficult in recent years, the combination of a softer course set-up and ideal scoring conditions has filled the first round with birdies.

Chad Campbell made five straight birdies to start his round. Shingo Katayama shot 5-under par 67 to lead midway through the first day. Even old-timers Greg Norman and Larry Mize played their way onto the leader board.

“It was a different type of golf course today,” Kevin Sutherland said after shooting a 3-under par 69.

There were, from time to time, bursts of noise rumbling around the course when players made birdies.

Hole locations were, in many cases, cut in more accessible spots and the tees were moved up in several places, allowing Augusta National to play shorter than it might.

It provided a nice start.