By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- David Lynn has taken what he frankly calls a "golfing lifetime" to finally earn his way to Augusta National and the Masters Tournament.
He's 39 years old, after all, and his European Tour career, which features just one win, and that coming more than a decade ago, can best be described as pedestrian. The Masters, in fact, is just the journeyman's third major championship since he turned pro in 1995.
But Lynn finished a distant second to Rory McIlroy last fall at the PGA Championship to earn the coveted invitation to Augusta National. And he has landed among the leaders once again on Thursday with a 68 that left him two strokes off Marc Leishman's pace.
Even though McIlroy was eight strokes clear at Kiawah Island, Lynn's performance there laid the groundwork for Thursday's solid round of six birdies and two bogeys. The Brit has always believed he had the talent but he just hasn't put it on display consistently enough.
"When I know I'm on my game, I know I can compete at that sort of level," Lynn said. "What happened at Kiawah Island was basically confirming it to myself. Certainly it gives you a little bit of extra belief and you know that you've been there before and you've experienced one of the biggest tournaments at the highest level. ...
"I was in an environment that I had not been in before. It was totally different to winning a golf tournament. ... It certainly gives you that confidence, that belief; that when you're there, when you're feeling good, you can compete."
The lanky Englishman also feels like he has been given a new lease on life this year. He's joined the PGA TOUR for the first time and he tied for fourth at The Honda Classic, where Lynn played with Tiger Woods in the third round and nipped the world No. 1 by two strokes.
"It's given me a second wind at the moment," Lynn said. "Obviously everything's new. ... I'm going to a different place every week, a different course, and it's like I've started my career again almost. So I'm having to knuckle down and do my homework when I get to places, and just enjoying what the PGA TOUR has to offer at the moment, which it's really good."
Lynn played nine holes with former Masters champions Sandy Lyle and Ian Woosnam this week as he prepared for the Masters. He says Lyle's 1988 victory -- which was part of dominant stretch for Europeans at Augusta National -- helped turn his attention from soccer to golf.
Now that he's finally at Augusta National, where the abundant azaleas and dogwoods and sprawling antebellum clubhouse are so firmly etched in memory, Lynn says it's "quite easy" to become a tourist. But he has a job to do -- Lynn even swore off the Par 3 Contest after he waited so late to sign up that the only available starting times were after 4 p.m.
"I said to myself I'm not going to play if I get an early tee time Thursday, and sure enough, I got an early tee time Thursday," said Lynn, who nonetheless described himself as "gutted" he missed the Par 3. "... I've just got to hope that there are going to be other opportunities to play it.
"One of the first things Nicolas Colsaerts said to me when he walked past after the Par 3, he was saying the first thing you do is get your name down for the Par 3, because that's awesome. But I'm not here to play the Par 3; I'm here to prepare myself as best I could for playing the tournament, which I had to be disciplined in doing."
And depending on what happens come Sunday afternoon, there could be many other chances for fun and games on Wednesday afternoon.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Some fans might be surprised to see David Lynn's name at the top of the Masters leaderboard.
Don't forget, though, the Englishman was the runner-up, albiet a distant one, to Rory McIlroy at last year's PGA Championship. He barely made the field after sneaking into the top 100 in the Official World Golf Ranking at No. 98, then took advantage of the opportunity by shooting a pair of 68s on the weekend.
Lynn is 5 under through 15 holes right now in his first appearance at the Masters -- and just his third major championship overall. He's two strokes ahead of Jim Furyk, who has played 11 holes and three up on Brian Gay and Justin Rose.
The 39-year-old Lynn, who is playing his first full season as a PGA TOUR member, came to Augusta -- where he sought out former Masters champions Sandy Lyle and Ian Woosnam for practice rounds -- on the heels of a 14th-place finish at the Valero Texas Open. Lynn's best performance of the year came when he tied for fourth at The Honda Classic.
Lynn describes himself on his Twitter feed as a "general prankster" and says he "will probably never grow up." A self-confessed petrol head, the photo on his Twitter page features Lynn stretched out with hi's feet on the counter and his head in the washing machine.
Lynn is a one-time winner on the European Tour, capturing the 2004 KLM Open. He drew inspiration from famous quotations that week but credited the win to an 1891 "Queen's Shilling" that his father gave him after he lost the Wedgewood China ball marker that he'd used for the past decade.
MARANA, Ariz. -- Webb Simpson birdied two of his first four holes on Thursday and never looked back as he beat England's David Lynn 5 and 4.
Simpson, who is playing in his second World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship, never trailed in the match and only lost one hole. He was 3 up at the turn and padded his lead with a two-putt birdie at the par-5 11th.
Simpson made a bogey at the 12th hole that allowed Lynn, who was making his debut at Dove Mountain, to briefly cut into his lead. But Simpson answered with a 4-footer for birdie at the 13th and then won with a concession after Lynn had an adventure in a fairway bunker and took four shots to reach the 14th green.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. -- David Lynn made a big change this year when the 39-year-old European Tour veteran decided to head to the United States to ply his trade.
Lynn got the opportunity because his earnings as a non-member last year were enough to have placed him among the top 125 on the money list. The money came in one lump sum, too, as Lynn fired a pair of 68s on the weekend at Kiawah Island to claim solo second at the PGA Championship.
The $865,000 payday, which came in just his second major championship appearance, was the biggest of the Englishman's careeer. He had earned 200,000 pounds when he won his only European Tour event back in 2004.
This week's Northern Trust Open is just his fourth PGA TOUR event as a member -- and only the sixth of his long career. The "rookie" is off to a good start, too, after firing a 67 at Riviera that left Lynn in a tie for third, three strokes off the lead.
"Just played really solid," Lynn said. "Hit a lot of fairways (8), was hitting a lot of greens (14), and gave myself plenty of chances. The greens are fast and especially downhill, and there are a lot of spike marks and footprints, so you've got to be careful."
Lynn, whose best finish this year, and only made cut, is a tie for 34th at Torrey Pines, hasn't gravitated to Florida as have some other ex-pats like Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy. He and his girfriend did a little sightseeing in Los Angeles and Malibu last week in advance of what will be a four-week stretch of tournaments.
"My base is my suitcase at the moment, week to week," he said.
Lynn, who lists socializing as one of his special interests in the media guide, has, not surprisingly, found it easy to make friends. Getting comfortable on brand new courses is always a challenge, though, and to make things more difficult, two of his first three tournaments were multiple-course events.
"Because I played European Tour for 15 years, you know every course inside out and that's something I've missed a little bit, and these courses it's just a little bit of an edge maybe for other people who have played it a lot," Lynn said. "Just hope I can sort of start putting a few rounds together."
Riviera would be a good place to start.