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England's Fisher cards a relaxed 69

Friday, April 08, 2011

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Days before one of the biggest tournaments of the year, Ross Fisher knew how to take it slow.

Ross Fisher, of England, carded five birdies in a seven-hole stretch to shoot 3-under 69. (Zach Boyden-Holmes/Staff)

He did so with a game controller in hand, two childhood friends by his side and the Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters video game on the screen.

"We've been relaxing at the house and playing the PlayStation," said Fisher's friend Chris Harmston, who traveled from England for the tournament. "Mostly Masters and FIFA."

Fisher, 30, is making his third Masters appearance. Waiting for him at home in England is his wife, Joanne, who is expected to deliver the couple's second child just days after the Masters ends.

The scenario, however nerve-racking, is deja-vu for the family. When Fisher competed at the 2009 British Open, he played knowing his wife could go into labor at any moment. He was able to finish the tournament, in which he tied for 13th place, before rushing to his wife's side for the delivery.

"So hopefully not like last time, she hung on and I didn't, so hopefully I can hang on this time," Fisher said Thursday.

"Just enjoy it, and go have fun," he remembered his wife saying before he left.

Fisher began his round Thursday 1-over par through four holes.

The situation changed after he made five birdies in the next seven holes to take the early lead. He made a bogey at No. 17 to finish with 69.

Still, Fisher walked off the course smiling, noting he was delighted to finish under par.

"At the same time kind of walking off a little bit disappointed because I felt like I played very nicely today," Fisher said.

Following his every step around the course were Fisher's two managers from Horizon Sports Management, who traveled with their client to Augusta.

"He's pretty relaxed," said Fisher's manager, Conor Ridge. "He's been chilling at the house with his boys. We always get a house like that to relax, get a private chef in there and take it easy."

Reach Tracey McManus at (706) 823-3424 or tracey.mcmanus@augustachronicle.com.

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