The Masters: Rory McIlroy left in the shade at Augusta
Rory McIlroy might want to consult the oracle that is debutant David Lynn for tips on how to ignite his Masters challenge.
McIlroy laboured through much of his opening round, surrendering domestic spotlight to Lynn, who shot a 68, and Jamie Donaldson, who fired a hole-in-one while also making his Augusta bow.
Amazing is how Donaldson described the moment his ball dropped at the par-3 sixth. "It's a tough shot, the pin's high up on the right side, so you don't know whether to take it on or sort of play just short left, so you got a putt up the hill. My caddie said, listen, you just go straight at it when it's up there. And that's what I did. It was great to see the ball pitch right on line, just short, and in it went."
Lynn could not manage an ace, just a sustained starburst over the leaderboard to close day one as the highest placed Briton. For a while he was leader in the clubhouse. Lynn was walking off the ninth when his caddie informed him he was leading the Masters. "He just looked at me and smiled. I said: 'I'd rather be leading it Sunday afternoon.' (Laughter). It's obviously not a bad thing to see your name up there leading the Masters and something you could always look back on. But there's a lot to be done for the rest of the week and hopefully I can keep my name up there."
This is the territory McIlroy hoped would be his. The former World No 1 traded birdie for bogey, posting five of each, for a level par 72. At least he finished with his clubs in one piece. Luke Donald is waiting on the arrival of a new driver flown in overnight to revive his Masters ambitions.
Donald, who carded an opening 71, damaged his big stick during the first round and was unable to use it over the closing holes. "I found out on the 15th that I got a little crack in my driver, which wasn't very good for the old mental side. I called over the official and asked him what the rule was. He said, well, you can still continue the round with it, but after the round they had a closer look. It was clear I couldn't use it again.
"I'm going to have to get some drivers here as quickly as possible and obviously not having teed up one, having a fresh one, it's not where you really want to be, ideally, but I'll manage."
Lynn is hoping to keep it all together and dream about what my be on Sunday. "I've always believed that I could perform well. I just don't do it consistently enough. I'm just enjoying it at the moment. Tomorrow is another day and I know I'm going to have to play well again. So I'm not going to sit here and say I'm going to be there Sunday night, but deep down, I know that I've got performances in me that could put me there."
Belfast Telegraph Digital