Dangerous breaks harm Savannah’s Brian Harman in Masters first spherical. This is why he is not frightened – Savannah Morning Information

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AUGUSTA — Brian Harman was striking the ball well Thursday in the first round of the 86th Masters Tournament, but a few tough breaks made a potentially excellent score fall by the wayside.

But Harman held things together with a solid short game and shot a 2-over par 74 that left him in a tie for 54th place Thursday.

More:Relaxed atmosphere at Par 3 Contest special to Brian Harman ahead of 2022 Masters

Harman was looking good after a two-putt birdie at his favorite hole at Augusta National — the par-5 13th got him to 1-under par for his round. But he bogeyed three of his last four holes to leave a bit of a bad taste in his mouth.

“I played a lot better than I scored, which is a real bummer. You’ve got to score better than you play here to be in contention, and I just let a few get away from me coming down the stretch,” said Harman , the UGA and Savannah Christian alumnus. “Just plain tough. Happy with the way I’m playing. Just a little disappointed in my score.”

He said he caught a wind gust at No. 15, and his approach with a wedge after laying up spun back into the pond fronting the green. He dropped and made an up-and-down to save bogey.

‘I misjudged all the beer on the green’:Harman witness to wildest scene on PGA Tour this year

At the 16th, his tee shot looked good, but one last roll put him in the back right bunker — facing a tough, short-sided sand shot. He executed it nicely, leaving himself 5 feet, but his par putt horseshoed around the hole as he made bogey.

After a stellar sand shot to 2 feet to save par on No. 17, Harman found the right bunker on No. 18 and had a tough short shot with a deep bank in his face. He made another excellent shot but lipped out from 4 feet for another bogey.

Harman, who entered the tournament at No. 53 in the World Golf Rankings, went off at 9:36 am with Stewart Cink and Harry Higgs in the seventh group. Harman dialed in a 6-iron to 4 feet at the 180-yard par-3 sixth hole, leading to a birdie and was tied with seven others atop the leaderboard at 1-under for a few minutes.

He followed with a bogey at No. 7 and a birdie at the par-5 eighth hole. At the par-4 ninth, his approach scared the hole as it zipped by within 3 feet before catching a slope and rolling down the front of the green, leading to a bogey.

“That was a really unlucky one there. I hit two great shots, I thought, and then actually a pretty good chip that stopped up on the hill,” said Harman, playing in his fourth Masters. “A lot of coin flips came up the wrong way for me today.”

He had nine one-putts among his 27 putts on Thursday.

Harman, who had his best Masters finish with a tie for 12th last year, said he won’t change his approach on Friday, when he will have an afternoon tea time and may face strong winds again.

“Nothing different. I’m striking the ball pretty well,” Harman said. “Even my approach on 18, I thought I stuffed it. I get up there, and it’s in the bunker. It’s just a bummer sometimes. You have to hope tomorrow that it evens out.”

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


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