Nightmarish debut for Atwal at the Masters

Last Updated: Apr 08, 2011, 11:47 AM IST

Augusta (USA): It was not a happy debut at
the Masters for Arjun Atwal, only the second Indian to play at
the fabled Augusta National Club, as he ended at tied 97th
with a eight-over 80 after the opening round.

Atwal had a disappointing second nine during which he had
three double bogeys.

Overall, the Indian, who is one of the closest friends of
Tiger Woods, with whom he played the practice rounds, had just
one birdie, one eagle, two bogeys and four double bogeys in a
highly eventful and roller-coaster round.

Atwal`s friend Tiger Woods had a one-under 71 with three
birdies and two bogeys, on 10th and 11th.

Atwal bogeyed fourth and fifth, and his sole birdie came
on eighth. On the back nine, he double bogeyed 10th, 12th,
13th and 18th, but in between eagled the 15th.

However, Asian Tour honorary members Y E Yang and K J
Choi of Korea got off to a flying start at The Masters with
matching five-under-par 67s.

They lie in tied third place, two strokes from leaders
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland and Alvaro Quiros of Spain at
the Augusta National Golf Club.

Yang, Asia`s first Major champion, made the turn in 32
before mixing his card with two birdies and one eagle against
three bogeys in the back nine.

He would have taken a share of the lead but slipped back
with bogeys in the last two holes. Yang won the 2009 PGA
Championship and that has given him a boost in confidence.

Choi, a seven-time US PGA Tour winner, endured a slow
start with a pair of birdies and bogeys in the first 11 holes
but burst into life from the 13th hole when he returned with
five birdies in his closing six holes.

Choi is making his ninth appearance in The Masters and is
buoyant by his strong finishes in Augusta, the best placing
being in tied third in 2004.

He said the Augusta National Golf Club reminded him of
fond memories from his first Asian Tour victory at the 1999
Korean Open.

Young Rory McIlroy and Alvaro Quiros claimed the
first-round lead at the Masters by shooting 7-under-par 65s.

Together, they headed an onslaught of international
talent at the top of the leader board.

Nine of the highest 13 finishers were non-Americans.
Among some of the big guns at the back of the pack was
world number one Martin Kaymer of Germany, who shot 78. Lee
Westwood shot even par and Phil Mickelson was two-under 70.

PTI