Fisher happy with round despite closing bogeys
Ross Fisher is well aware of the Masters Tournament precedent for rookies, but the 28-year-old Englishman has set quite a precedent of his own.
Fisher was the early leader for most of his first round at Augusta National Golf Club on Thursday before bogeys on the final two holes dropped him to 3-under-par 69 in a tie for 14th.
"To get it to (5-under) was great, but to finish (3-under) is disappointing," he said.
"But if you can walk off Augusta National disappointed with a 69, you're obviously doing something right."
Of course, this is the same player who won the European Open last year without ever having seen the course before. He opened with a course record 63 and cruised to a seven-stroke win over Sergio Garcia.
"After that, I sort of thought to myself maybe I should take off (before) more of them," Fisher said jokingly. "It was a pretty strange week, but it just felt like one of those weeks where everything I did was great. Everything I tried came off."
By comparison, he was already a veteran at Augusta National, having played 63 practice holes before Thursday.
He was feeling the same way for most of his first round, making birdie on four of the first eight holes before making the turn at 3-under.
Fisher got to 5-under with birdies on 11 and 16 before closing bogey-bogey to tie playing partner Kevin Sutherland at 3-under.
"He was really aggressive today, I thought," Sutherland said. "He's just a really impressive player."
That aggression hurt Fisher on No. 17, when he fired at the flag after both Sutherland and Prayad Marksaeng dropped conservative shots onto the center of the green that left long birdie putts.
Fisher's approach landed in the bunker in front of the green, and he was unable to save par when an eight-foot putt rolled just right of the cup.
He missed a six-footer on No. 18 to slide another stroke back.
Despite faltering at the finish, Fisher said Thursday's round gave him confidence.
After dreaming of competing at the Masters since he was a child, Fisher found the course suits his game perfectly.
Because he has already won an event without having played the course before, the 30 years since Fuzzy Zoeller became the last Masters rookie to win a green jacket is hardly intimidating.
"I do feel fully equipped, and I feel like I know where I'm going," Fisher said.
"Yes, there's probably going to be some pins over the next three days where I might be sitting in the wrong spot, but hopefully I can do what I've been doing today and put it in the right spots and get myself a good look at birdies."