Cognizant Classic in The Palm Beaches

PGA National (Champion Course)

The Loop

Marino not surprised by Watson's play

April 08, 2010

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Admit it, Tom Watson's five-under 67 during Thursday's first round of the 74th Masters took you by surprise. Don't worry, it did almost everyone. Everyone except for one of his playing partners.

Steve Marino was competing with Watson for the second time in his career Thursday, the first coming last July in the third round of the British Open when the two shared the 36-hole lead at Turnberry. That day Watson posted a 71 to Marino's 76.

So when Marino watched Watson roll in a 30-foot birdie on the first hole at Augusta National Thursday morning, you could see why Marino started to feel some déjà vu.

"I said nice putt and he said, 'Well you bring out the best in me,' " said Marino, a Masters rookie who shot a 71 Thursday.

As Watson's round progressed, Marino sensed that he was again seeing something special from the two-time Masters champion, who at 60 is the oldest player in the field this week. "It's hard for me to imagine him ever shooting over par," Marino said.

Asked how old Watson appeared to be given the way he was playing, Marino noted: "I don't know what age. I just know he's playing like one of the best players in the world."

And did he teach you anything in your first competitive round at Augusta National?

Said Marino: "He showed me how to shoot a 67."

-- Ryan Herrington