Paul Lawrie made the most of his first Masters Tournament since 2004, wielding his hybrid and his wedges like lethal weapons on the second nine of Augusta National Golf Club.
Lawrie used a hybrid for his second shot to set up eagles at the par-5 13th and 15th holes. Despite a closing bogey, he was happy with his 3-under-par 69, which gave him the clubhouse lead in the early afternoon.
He said he’s not thinking about winning the Masters, pointing out that it’s a long time until Sunday.
“I don’t have any aspirations in any tournament I play,” said Lawrie, the 1999 British Open champion who won earlier this year for the first time since 2002. “As soon as you think you’re playing well and your confidence is up, this game will get you. If you take one shot at a time, your goals will come to you.”
Lawrie parred 11 of his first 12 holes, with a bogey at No. 8, before striking. He hit a hybrid out of the right rough and over Rae’s Creek to three feet from the cup at the 13th, and made the putt for eagle to get back in red numbers.
Lawrie called on the hybrid again at No. 15, missing the green and almost hitting into the right bunker. He chipped in from 50 feet away to make eagle twice in one round for what he believed to be the first time.
Lawrie hit a wedge on his second shot at No. 17 to within 10 feet and made the putt to get to 4-under. He made a bit of a mess at No. 18, with his second shot landing hole high and rolling off the back of the green. He putted off the fringe, but the ball got only halfway to the green before making a sharp left turn. He missed an eight-foot attempt for par.
Lawrie qualified for the Masters by making the top 50 in the World Golf Ranking. He had to sweat that a bit because bronchitis cost him two starts last month.
Because of that illness, Lawrie has been taking it easy this week. He played no more than nine-hole practice rounds and hit no more than one bucket of balls, but he spent hours putting and chipping.
“I spent a lot of time on the greens,” he said. “I feel rested and ready to go.”