Camilo Villegas felt he was on the way to finally finding the right balance at Augusta National after firing a two-under-par 70 in the opening round of the Masters.
The 29-year-old Colombian got off to a bumpy start with a bogey at the first before posting three birdies in a row from the 13th to put his name up on the leaderboard.
Villegas, whose best Masters finish is a tie for 13th in 2009, said he has learned from his four previous trips to Augusta to keep his cool and exercise patience.
“It was good. I only hit it in one really bad spot today, which was the right bunker on 10. Other than that, I just took my medicine,” he said. “I played safe. I was kind of calm.”
The mistake at the 10th led to one of his three bogeys in the round, but Villegas said he has learned how to cope.
Villegas has three top 10 finishes in major championships, including a tie for eighth at last year's PGA Championship.
“On this course, I learned some things. You still have to have a good game out here, but experience helps,” said Villegas, a three-times winner on the US tour.
“It's just a golf course that you have to respect, but you can't fear it,” he added. “You've got to know when to go and when to back off.”
Villegas, who won last year's Honda Classic and had six other top-10 finishes, has been trying to incorporate changes in his game and has been struggling this year.
“We're always trying to get better, we're always trying to improve. We go through good times, bad times. Times where the confidence is really high and times where the confidence is not so good,” he said.
“You got to battle, you got to grind, you got to play the course. And I think that's kind of what I did today.”