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Opening hole proves Augusta champion Danny Willett's nemesis once again

By Phil Casey

Defending champion Danny Willett suffered more misery on the opening hole at Augusta. Willett suffered a dreaded shank on the 445-yard par four on his way to a quadruple-bogey eight, having carded a double-bogey six there in his opening 73.

He also bogeyed the fourth, 11th and 18th in a second round of 78 to finish seven over par.

"It's been a tricky 12 months and I haven't played great golf, but by the same token if you look at the career I've had, I've not really had a slump in form in two years," Willett said.

"I've had two fabulous years and then you have a little bit of a downturn and it feels like the world is coming to an end."

Willett's troubles began when he shanked his second shot on the first from an awkward stance on the edge of a fairway bunker, the World No.17 hitting a good recovery through the green but then failing to find the putting surface with his next two chips.

"If it goes in the bunker it's not too bad, if it goes a foot right you can get a stance," Willett said.

"Where it finished wasn't great and from there it was my own fault. I know you can't miss there, left of the green.

"I played some pretty good golf in the middle there and couldn't hole a bean."

For the third time in his four Masters trips, Russell Henley will be playing the weekend at Augusta National.

After a tough second round, Henley was happy with his game.

Henley had one birdie and five bogeys to finish his round at four over par, and he will enter the weekend at three over after shooting a 71 in the first round. Henley has six birdies and nine bogeys through the first two rounds, played in strong winds.

"I feel like I'm playing great," Henley said. "I'm just going to keep trying to play with feel, and it's been working this year, things have been working. I'll just go out there and try to make as many birdies as I can."

Making birdies should be easier this weekend after the gusty conditions on Thursday and yesterday calm down. Henley had his only birdie yesterday on the second, sandwiched between bogeys on the first and third holes.

Belfast Telegraph

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