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Howell Getting Comfortable at Augusta

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) -- Augustan Charles Howell III said his second time at The Masters has been much less nerve-racking than the first.
Charles Howell IIIHe played his first round Friday at 1-over-par 73 and was still at 1 over when second-round play was called because of darkness.
'I'm not as savvy as most of the people out there,' the 23-year-old former NCAA champion said. 'I just wanted to come out here and not hurt myself, and I think I did that as much as possible.'
Last year, he shot 291, finishing in a tie for 29th.
Going home early
David Duval stood on the green for 10 minutes chomping gum. He was waiting for the notoriously slow Bernhard Langer to get a ruling from an official, make a drop and hit not one shot, but two.
Finally, Duval got his chance and, what else? He missed.
Another bogey. Another bad day. And coming up Saturday, another missed cut at The Masters.
David DuvalDuval stood at 14-over par when darkness mercifully ended his day Friday, with eight holes to go in his second round.
Once the best player in the world and considered the top rival for Tiger Woods, Duval will miss the cut here for the second straight time and for the sixth time in seven stroke-play events this year.
Stalking away from the course, he declined an interview request.
'You can write whatever you want, but you're not going to get it from me,' he said.
Indeed, the performance spoke for itself.
Errant off the tee, rarely making mid-range putts, Duval played 28 holes and made five double bogeys and five bogeys. He finished the day only one stroke better than 63-year-old Jack Nicklaus, who shot an 85 -- the Golden Bear's worst round ever on the PGA TOUR -- and was at 15 over when he called it a night.
Adding insult to the whole thing, Duval will have to get up early Saturday to finish his round, playing eight holes before picking up the $5,000 consolation check that goes to all the players who don't make the cut.
'We'll see you tomorrow,' a man in a green jacket said to Duval as he left the clubhouse.
'Yeah,' Duval said, 'but not for long.'
Coody remembers
It has been 32 years since Charles Coody held off Johnny Miller and Jack Nicklaus at Augusta to win the tournament and earn his lifetime exemption.
To the 65-year-old Texan, it still seems like yesterday.
'I had a hell of a week,' he said. 'If I played solitaire that week, I won. If I had a gin game, I beat everyone I played. My concentration was great all week and I had a great time.'
Too long
Like so many other players, Jose Maria Olazabal said the wetness of the course only accentuated the length.
Last year, Augusta National officials added almost 300 yards to the course, bringing it to 7,290 yards.
The two-time champion says he doesn't think it's what the founders of Augusta National had in mind.
'I think if Bobby Jones woke up right now, right here, he would not be happy,' Olazabal said. 'They designed a course to reward all kinds of skill and ability, not just those who can hit it 300 yards.'
Does Olazabal think it would be worth taking his complaints to the chairman, Hootie Johnson?
'I don't really think they're interested in my thoughts,' he said.
With three birdies to start the day, K.J. Choi matched the best start by a first-time player at The Masters, tying Milon Marusic, who did it in 1953.
Sergio Garcia went from the leaderboard to a meltdown. He finished the day at No. 11 after a bogey-double bogey-bogey run that included a missed two-foot putt after which he chucked his putter toward his bag. He stands at 2 over.
Related Links:
  • 2003 Masters Tournament Mini-Site
  • Tournament Coverage
  • 2003 Masters Photo Gallery
  • Augusta National Course Tour
  • The Augusta National Membership Debate: A Chronology
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