Kim attacks Augusta National with perspective


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AUGUSTA, Ga. ' After his first Masters round, Anthony Kim wondered if hed even be around for the weekend.
Not to worry.
If Kim keeps playing the way he did Friday, he might have to clear a spot in his closet for a green jacket.
Attacking the course with reckless abandon ' and the proper perspective ' Kim blistered Augusta National for a record 11 birdies in the second round, proving again why hes considered the best of this latest generation of Tiger Woods wannabes.
With a 7-under-par 65, Kim surged into contention for his first major title heading into the weekend, five strokes behind co-leaders and Ryder Cup teammates Kenny Perry and Chad Campbell.
The brash, 23-year-old Californian posted 10 strokes better than an abysmal 75 on Thursday, when the conditions were perfect for scoring but Kim looked overwhelmed in his first Masters appearance.
Even though the wind picked up and the greens firmed up, Kim managed to break a more than two-decades-old record for most birdies in a round. Nick Price had 10 of them on his way to a record-setting 63 at the 1986 Masters.
I havent been making 11 birdies in two days, Kim said, breaking into a big smile. So to make 11 in one day is pretty special. And, obviously, to do it at Augusta is amazing. Hopefully, I can build off that. If I can keep the putter hot, I like my chances here.
Kim rolled in five putts of at least 15 feet, looking like a veteran on Augustas slick, baffling greens.
I just said, Stay steady, he recalled. The first goal is to make the cut, and then make a run on Saturday and Sunday. The putts kept falling, so I just kept walking them in and going to the next hole.
Reading about the death of Los Angeles Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart helped Kim shake off his poor round Thursday, and allowed him to cope with the frustration of making a bogey at No. 9, then double-bogey on the next hole.
Instead of feeling sorry for himself, Kim said he thought about Adenhart, 22, who died early Thursday shortly after pitching six scoreless innings when the car carrying him and three friends was broadsided, allegedly by a drunken driver.
I got refocused on the 11th tee and said, Lets make some good swings. No matter what I shoot, I want to put this tournament round in perspective, Kim recalled. Look, its been a dream of mine to be at the Masters my whole life, and theres no reason to pout about a bogey or a three-putt, but enjoy being out here and enjoy all of the hard work that was put in by myself and my parents. Go out there and have some fun.
I think thats what made the 11 birdies a lot easier.
While no one expects to make that many birdies, Kims rise up the leaderboard was hardly unexpected. Hes been touted as a potential rival to Woods ever since he stepped on the PGA Tour, and two wins last year seemed to justify the hype. When he helped lead the Americans to a Ryder Cup victory at Valhalla, firing up the team with his emotional play, it seemed nothing could halt his march to stardom.
Kim tied for second in his first event of 2009, but nagging injuries marred his performance in the weeks leading up to Augusta. He proclaimed himself fully recovered, which made his ragged showing in the first round even harder to understand.
There was a sense of urgency (Thursday) night when I was leaving the golf course, Kim said. I knew I had to get off to a good start, and the wind was picking up. I didnt know what the score would be.
At one point, Kim looked up to see Campbell at 11 under and all hope fading away.
I knew I needed to get to even par, or maybe 1 under, to make the cut, Kim said. Once I got there, I started moving along.
Kim ripped off four straight birdies on the front side. A 20-footer at No. 5 dropped in. So did a 15-footer at No. 6. He stuck a 9-iron to 3 feet at No. 7. Finally, he rolled in a 10-footer at the par-5 eighth.
After shaking off those two poor holes on each side of the turn, Kim started another run of four straight birdies. He knocked at 8-iron to 15 feet at the picturesque 12th hole in Amen Corner. He chipped to 15 feet at 13 and made that putt, too. A pitching wedge stopped just 8 inches from the hole at 14. Capping it off, a two-putt birdie at the par-5 15th.
Prices record fell at the final hole, where a monstrous drive left Kim with only an 8-iron to the flag. He knocked it to about 12 feet and, of course, made the putt.

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