Watson inspires Woodlands sizzling finish


AUGUSTA, Ga. – Masters’ rookie Gary Woodland mounted an impressive back-nine rally inspired by fellow Kansan Tom Watson.

“He told me how to play every hole,” Woodland said.

Woodland arranged to play nine holes with Watson in a practice round Wednesday. Watson won the 1977 and '81 Masters.

“We played the back nine,” Woodland said. “I should have gotten him to play the front nine with me, too.'

Woodland made an awful start in the first round and was 3-over through 10 holes, but he played the final six holes in 6-under. He turned around his day with an eagle at the 13th and then birdied the final four holes to shoot 69.

Notably, Watson schooled Woodland at the 13th in their practice round. Watson hit a big draw around the corner and knocked his approach stiff to 5 feet. Woodland hit his second shot there in the creek in the practice round. Woodland's second shot was much better on Thursday. He hit a 5-iron from 236 yards to 6 feet to set up his eagle.

“I made the putt and just got hot,” Woodland said.