April 9, 2009

Birdie Binge

Picking up where he left off last season, Anthony Kim set a new mark at Augusta National with a remarkable 11 birdies

Anthony Kim's 11 birdies snapped a 23-year old Masters record.

Anthony Kim's 11 birdies snapped a 23-year old Masters record.

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- When Anthony Kim picked up a newspaper Friday morning and read a story recounting the tragic death of Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart, he made a pact with himself before playing his second round at the Masters.

"It put everything in perspective," Kim said. "Enjoy walking down the fairway, making a couple of putts, hearing some cheers now and again.

"The last line in the story was, 'You never know what can happen, even at 22. You have to live every moment of every day like it's your last.' I don't want to go out whining about a three-putt. I want to be happy."

So Kim, a Masters rookie, went out and accomplished something no other player has ever done at Augusta National: He made 11 birdies.

Kim, 23, shot a seven-under 65, moved from three over to four under and is tied for seventh, five shots behind co-leaders Chad Campbell and Kenny Perry.

Asked to explain how he did it, Kim failed.

"I don't know what happened. My confidence got bigger and bigger every hole. When the putter is hot, nothing gets in the way."

Kim had two streaks of four straight birdies and wound up with just four pars. Kim said he's not ruling himself out of anything here, and said he believes he can win.

"I like my chances, absolutely."

They improved considerably with his record-setting performance Friday.

The list of birdies started at the first, where he recovered from a drive in the bunker with a nine iron to 15 feet. He hit driver and then chipped to two feet for another birdie at the second.

Kim three-putted the fourth, but then started on a roll. At the fifth, he made a 20-footer for birdie; at the sixth, a 15-footer; at the seventh, a three-footer and at the 8th, a 10-footer.

Kim gave a shot back at the ninth and doubled the 10th, but he was off and running again at the 12th. His 8-iron stopped 15 feet from the hole and Kim made the birdie putt. He chipped to 15 feet and birdied the 13th; pitched to eight inches and birdied the 14th; and then two-putted the 15th for another birdie.

Kim ran out of holes to birdie at the 18th, where he hit an 8-iron to 12 feet and made that birdie putt, too.

The birdie record had stood since 1986, when Nick Price had 10 birdies in the third round on his way to a 63.

On a normal day, 11 birdies might add up to something really low, and that's what Kim felt.

"It feels like a 58 right now," he said.