Yes, the greens are playing hard and fast at Augusta National to open the Masters. Of No. 9 green, Brooks Koepka lamented, “I don’t know if there is grass (on it.)”
“I knew where I was there was no chance I was making par,” Strafaci said. “Yeah, that was my mistake. It’s just stuff like that when it’s firm and fast that you experience. It’s just you hit a shot, and you know right away that you’re dead.”
A bogey at No. 10 put Strafaci at 4 over at No. 12. His tee there shot found the water – an outcome Strafaci knew right away. His second found the front bunker. When it was all said and done, he took a triple bogey. A final bogey at No. 14 was his fifth blemish of the day. He parred every other hole.
“Oh, I just hit a God-awful shot,” Strafaci said. “I tried to hit like a skinny cut up there, and I hit a steep push cut in the water. It’s just when the wind is blowing like that you kind of -- I didn’t trust my number. I saw DJ (playing partner and defending champion Dustin Johnson) hit the same club I did, and I just didn’t trust it because I know he’s way longer than I am.
“Yeah, looking forward to burning that hole tomorrow.”
Someone bottle the optimism of the youth.
Strafaci returns for his second round Friday. He has a lot of ground to make up. However, then it’s on to the Walker Cup in May for his final appearance as an amateur.
In the meantime, he is going to enjoy where he is and what he is doing.
“I don’t know how I didn’t have a heart attack just walking (to the first tee),” Strafaci said. “… What calmed me down was seeing my friends and family and giving me a hug before I went off. I understood that it’s just golf, and I just reminded myself just go out and have a fun time.”