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April 7 2011

5:51 PM

O’Hair’s adjustment pays off

By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM Chief of Correspondents

AUGUSTA, GA. -- Sean O'Hair was headed in the wrong direction Thursday when he blocked his tee shot right into the trees at the 11th hole and made bogey.

It was his second bogey in his last three holes and put O'Hair 2 over on a day when red numbers were lighting up those massive white leaderboards at Augusta National.

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O'Hair

A slight adjustment in his alignment paid big dividends, though. O'Hair immediately birdied the par-3 12th and par-5 13th -- and went on to play his final seven holes 4 under on the way to a solid 70.

"I was making some good swings, just my cuts weren't quite cutting and my draws weren't quite drawing," O'Hair explained. "I was just basically hitting these straight shots, and the strike wasn't quite right. So I changed my ball position just a little bit, and it helped out a lot."

The birdie at the 12th came courtesy of a pinpoint 8-iron while he two-putted the 13th after reaching with a rescue club. O'Hair birdied the next par 5 with a lob wedge to inches, recovering nicely after pulling his drive left into the trees.

O'Hair then closed out his round with what is sure to be a rare birdie at the difficult 18th after a 7-iron approach. "So could have been better, could have been worse," he said. "I'm pretty happy with how I played."

O'Hair played in the first group off the tee with Jonathan Byrd and Ross Fisher, who fired a 69. The American hit 12 of 18 greens and eight of 14 fairways, and only had one three-putt.

O'Hair said he liked feeling like he "owned the whole place." He's played well at Augusta National before -- tying for 14th and 10th in 2008 and '09, respectively -- so he has a comfort zone.

"I love the place," O'Hair said. "... I just love the whole feel of the place.  I think it's a very special atmosphere out here, and I just think either you love it or you hate it, and I just love it.  It's just a very kind of I don't know, fairytale type feel out here."

Speaking of fairytales, two of O'Hair's four children -- Molly, who is 6, and 4-year-old Luke -- caddied for him at Wednesday's Par 3 Contest. Molly was particularly entertained.

"My son Luke wasn't quite interested in it," O'Hair said. "He got a little tired of it. He wanted to play. And my daughter took it really seriously. I was proud of her, she really behaved nicely, and she enjoyed it.

"She loves the signing autographs. She wanted to sign autographs, so that was fun watching her."

Click here to see O’Hair’s scorecard.

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