Bubba revels in pressure-free Masters start
By Mark Lamport-Stokes
AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) - Twelve months after succumbing to the pressure of trying to retain his Masters title, Bubba Watson delivered a near-flawless display to soar up the leaderboard in Thursday's opening round at Augusta National.
The power-hitting American left-hander, who is renowned for his audacious brand of 'Bubba' golf, was the only player in the field of 97 to go bogey-free as he fired a three-under-par 69 on a firm, fast-running layout.
Adopting the strategy of not looking at any leaderboards out on the course in a bid to maintain a blinkered focus, Watson birdied the third, 13th and 15th to end a day of unbroken sunshine one stroke behind pacesetting American Bill Haas.
"It was really solid," Watson said of his blemish-free round. "You know, my whole goal, I'm not trying to look at leaderboards. I don't want to give my secret but I'm trying to just hit greens.
"Today I missed two greens. I missed one by six inches, missed one by three feet. I putted both of those, made pars. So I'm just trying to hit greens.
"If I can hit greens that means I've hit good tee shots and I hit good iron shots and I'm just trying to make par from there and throw in a birdie here and there. And that's what I did today."
Last year Watson opened with a 75 and closed with a 77 to finish joint 50th on his Masters defense, overwhelmed by the task of trying to retain his crown. Continued...