The Loop

The Loop

Chung maturely handles first Masters round

April 07, 2011

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- His first time in the Masters, David Chung realized he was actually, truly, memorably in the Masters when he looked at his second shot on the 7th hole. "It struck me then," he said.

We've all seen that hole with its elevated green, wide and narrow, a table top perched above a bunker without mercy -- all surrounded by fans who favor the spot for its up-close view of players. From the normal second-shot distance of 180, 190 yards, the green's surface can't be seen. For Chung, whose drive bounced around in trees at the right, the distance was 240 yards. He said, "I could barely see the pin."

Chung is a junior at Stanford University, here by virtue of his runner-up finish in last year's U.S. Amateur. Nothing much frightens you when you're 21 and gifted, so Chung considered his second shot this way: "Who among the 5,000 people behind that green should I aim at?" Meaning he'd take a hybrid and whip it up that way, hoping for the best. Perfect. Fifteen feet. Two putts. Par.

Bogeys at the last two holes left Chung at even-par 72. He birdied three par-5s, pronounced himself "very happy," and called the day "surreal, pretty cool." For all that, he also reminded himself that it's still a game of hit-it/find-it/hit-it-again. "As possibly intimidating as a major championship can be," he said, "it's still just another round of golf."

-- Dave Kindred