"The Duck"!

April 08, 2010

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- There are times when the disparity between a seasoned touring pro and an amateur is not so glaring. Then there are sequences like on the par-5 second hole Thursday morning.

Consider the scene: There is Angel Cabrera, two-time major champion and in search of his second consecutive green jacket, sending a towering second shot to short of the green, then watching it trickle to within eight feet of the cup.

And there is Ben An, the 18-year-old reignining U.S. Amateur champion and veteran of just two rounds in a PGA Tour event (a 77 and 73 at Bay Hill) prior to the Masters. An had bogeyed the first hole, but managed to send his drive on two into the fairway, to the crest of the hill overlooking the green. Then came his second shot. It was low, it was left and if not for a forgiving pine that interrupted its path, it might well have ended up in the ninth fairway, if not the Crow's Nest.

Instead the ball kicked back into fairway, and An was able to salvage par. But it wasn't the reassuring start he was looking for.

-- Sam Weinman