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Thursday, 11 April 2013
David Lynn  (Getty Images)
David Lynn (Getty Images)
Wigan Athletic fan David Lynn is dreaming of a glorious weekend double after carding an opening 68 on his Masters Tournament debut at Augusta National.

Playing only the third Major of his career after securing his place by finishing second at the US PGA Championship last year, Lynn carded six birdies and two bogeys to set the early clubhouse target.

Although he was subsequently overhauled, the World Number 53 could have no complaints after a round which saw him finish ahead of compatriots Lee Westwood and Justin Rose, who were both round in 70.

The 39 year old, who has one win in almost 400 European Tour events, birdied the first, eighth and ninth to be out in 33, and after a dropped shot on the tenth, hit back with birdies on the 11th, 12th and 15th.

A bogey on the 17th looked like being followed with another on the 18th when he was faced with a 12 foot putt for par after hitting his approach over the green, but he holed out to complete a brilliant debut round.

"Everyone said playing here was about the percentages and talking to an old friend of mine, David Gilford, who came here for the first time and shot a 67 in the first round, he said 'Don't be too intimidated by the greens. There are birdies out there,'" Lynn said. "So I had that in my mind as well.

"I was on the ninth and my caddie said 'You're leading the Masters.' He just looked at me and smiled. I said 'I'd rather be leading it Sunday afternoon' but it's obviously not a bad thing to see your name up there and something you could always look back on.

"But there's a lot to be done for the rest of the week and hopefully I can keep my name up there.

"It's taken me a golfing lifetime to get here. You do feel like you know the place, because you see it that many times on TV. It's fantastic."

As for Wigan's FA Cup semi-final with Millwall on Saturday, Lynn added: "I'd love to see Wigan progress into the final. I would love to see them survive a ninth year (in the Premier League) and if they can bring home an FA Cup that would be fantastic."

Of his own chances this week, Lynn admitted that finishing behind only runaway victor McIlroy in the last Major of 2012 had given him a huge confidence boost.

"When I am on my game I know I can compete at this level and Kiawah Island (for the US PGA) confirmed it to me,” he added.

“It gave me a bit of extra belief. I'm not going to sit here and say I'm going to be there Sunday night, but deep down I know that I've got performances in me that could put me there Sunday night.

"There’s a mystique about the place and you turn up here and see the rolling hills and just know you’re at Augusta from the moment you turn into the drive. 

“I picked the brains of Thomas [Bjorn] on the Monday, played with Woosie [Ian Woosnam] and [Sandy] Lyle on the Tuesday, playing with two legends at Augusta. Everything has been great so looking forward to hopefully another great three rounds.”

Lynn was not the only Masters debutant to make an impression - Jamie Donaldson marked his in style today with a hole-in-one, despite the presence of some "dead elephants" at Augusta National.

Donaldson holed a seven iron from 177 yards on the sixth, the fifth ace on that hole in tournament history and the first there since Chris Di Marco in 2004, in an opening round of 74.

The 37 year old Welshman, whose dad, brother and two friends were watching and sporting 'Team Donaldson' t-shirts, said: "It's a tough shot, the pin's high up on the right side, so you don't know whether to take it on or sort of play just short left so you get a putt up the hill.

"But my caddie said 'Listen, you just go straight at it when it's up there' and that's what I did. And it was great to see the ball pitch right on line, just short, and it went in. It was pretty special.

"You're staring down that hole and the green is like there's dead elephants buried everywhere. The pin is in the hardest pin placement so you just have to take the shot on, I went straight at it and the shot came off exactly as I wanted it to and it went in.

"It was just like 'wow'.”

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