April 10, 2014
By Sean Martin, PGATOUR.COM
- Gary Woodland made just one bogey Thursday at Augusta National Golf Club. (Harry How/Getty Images)
Gary Woodland finished his previous visit to Augusta National with an 85. He battled through wrist pain, but didn't want to quit mid-round, opting to battle his way to a high score instead. Woodland's length is a big asset at Augusta National, where success on the par-5s is key.
All three of Woodland's Thursday birdies came on par-5s (Nos. 2, 13 and 15) during his first-round 70, which puts him two shots behind leader Bill Haas. His lone bogey came at the par-3 fourth.
"It was nice to get back here after what happened a couple of years ago," Woodland said. "I'm a different golfer than I was then, too. I'm confident. I'm healthy."
Woodland is back at the Masters for the first time since 2012 after qualifying for last year's TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola. He finished 24th in his Masters debut in 2011.
Woodland gave credit to his caddie, Tony Navarro, who's worked for Adam Scott and Greg Norman, for his help in Thursday's 70.
"Tony has dialed me back little bit," Woodland said. "I'm playing a little more conservative than I have in the past. He knows what he's doing, so I trust him.
"Obviously he put me in the right position and I was able to do it. I feel like we left some out there. I gave myself a lot of chances. I hit a lot of greens. I didn't make a lot of putts but I was putting uphill all day. And when you do that out here you'll be pretty good without giving these greens up."