The Loop

Sirak: Flesch Happy With Quicker Pace

April 11, 2008

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Thursday's first round at the Masters started with an hour fog delay and then got slower: rounds taking longer than five hours to complete, the last couple groups ending in the dimmest of light. Steve Flesch did not have any such problems Friday, getting into an early rhythm and riding it to a 67 to move into the weekend at five-under 139, three shots behind current leader Trevor Immelman.

"It was nice to get out early," Flesch said after a round highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 13th hole. "The greens were soft and one of the nicest things is the pace of play. After the first tee, we never saw the group in front of us." Flesch played with Craig Stadler and Johnson Wagner in the second group of the day behind the twosome of Todd Hamilton and Brian Bateman.

"Yesterday was a long day," said Flesch, who was in the middle of the pack Thursday, teeing off at 11:18. "When you have Craig Stadler in your group, you're not going to wait to hit shots." The key shot of the day for Flesch was a 3-iron from 234 yards on No. 13 to two feet for a tap-in eagle. He made a birdie on No. 15 when his 5-wood second shot from 237 yards came to rest just off the back of the green, and he chipped his third to tap-in range.

The pace of play did not especially help Wagner, who posted a 74 to finish at 146, but Stadler did have a five-stroke improvement with a 72 that put him at 149, with the cut looking like it will be either 147 or 148.

-- Ron Sirak