AUGUSTA, Ga. – Gary Woodland blitzed the front nine at Augusta Nine with a record-tying 6-under 30 and announced to the media following his round, “I’m hitting it long.”
As headlines go, Woodland announcing he’s “hitting it long” is akin to the fallback, “Dog bites man.”
As obvious as Woodland’s take was, his point was well taken considering his play on a perfect day at the Masters on Saturday. He began his round birdie-eagle and added three more birdies at Nos. 6, 8 and 9 to turn at 3 under par for the week after starting the day at 3 over par.
Woodland, who said he “figured something out” with his driver on the practice tee after Friday’s round, added another birdie at the 10th before his assault stalled on the front end of Amen Corner.
At the 11th hole, Woodland’s approach sailed long and he made a bogey. At No. 12 he miss-clubbed and found the water hazard on his way to a double bogey-5 to finish with a 3-under 69.
Four players had previously carded 30s on the outward loop, most recently Phil Mickelson on Sunday in 2009, and the historical connection to Greg Norman was palpable.
Tony Navarro – Woodland’s caddie who recently introduced him to Norman – was on the Shark’s bag in 1996 when the Australian shot a course-round 63.
“With Tony on the bag I feel very comfortable,” said Woodland, who was at even par for the week and tied for 14th when he signed his scorecard. “It feels great (to tie the front-nine record). I hope I get the back nine (record) tomorrow.”