AUGUSTA, Ga. — The closing hole has been Longhorn-friendly this week at Augusta National.
On the same hole that fellow Longhorn Doug Ghim eagled with his approach shot from 185 feet on Thursday, Jhonattan Vegas chipped in for a birdie on the 18th hole to finish with a 3-under 69 for his first round in the 60s in his Masters career.
Both of them safely advanced to the weekend as Vegas made the cut for the first time in his three starts at Augusta and Ghim, a Texas senior, shot a 76 to go 4-over par and stay in the top 50 — he’s tied for 40th — to stick around for his first weekend play here.
Even first-round leader Jordan Spieth can count the 18th as a blessing because he had a good bogey there Thursday. It could have been so much worse.
There were no eagles to be had out there on Augusta National’s treacherous course for Ghim on Friday, and precious few birdie opportunities as well.
But the Longhorns senior, who had two eagles Thursday, steadied himself after double bogeys on Nos. 1 and 6 and finished strong with a 3-over par 75 to keep himself in contention for weekend play at the Masters.
“I have a good feeling I probably will be around for the weekend, but I don’t want to jinx myself,” said Ghim, who scored a pair of eagles in his first-ever round on Thursday.
Ghim, the U.S Amateur runner-up, earned low-amateur honors by besting the other five competitors. He said he felt much more comfortable than he had the first day, his scores notwithstanding, and he was happy overall with his play on a day when many of the world’s top golfers struggled.
He birdied the second and third holes with a “ticklish” 6-footer and then a 5-footer after a great wedge shot.
“I fought,” Ghim said. “I did everything I could not to get down on myself with a golf course that wants you to do just that.”
Former Masters champion Sandy Lyle, who played in his threesome, said Ghim played well, and Lyle’s caddie, James Haugh, said Ghim “has no fear in him.”
Dylan Frittelli, Spieth’s teammate who hit the clinching putt to win a national championship for Texas in 2012, didn’t fare as well. He managed just two birdies and had four bogeys to finish the two days at 7-over par to miss the cut.
News on Bevo Beat is free and unlimited. Access to the rest of Hookem.com is included with an Austin American-Statesman subscription in addition to Statesman.com and the ePaper edition. Subscribe today at statesman.com/subscribe.