Saturday, 13 April 2019
Eddie Pepperell and Jeff Knox  (Getty Images)
Eddie Pepperell and Jeff Knox (Getty Images)

Eddie Pepperell claimed bragging rights over three time Race to Dubai winner Rory McIlroy after enjoying another Masters Tournament tradition on his debut at Augusta National Golf Club.

The odd number of players making the cut meant Pepperell played alongside marker and Augusta member Jeff Knox, who famously outscored McIlroy in the same situation in 2014.

Knox holds the course record of 61 from the members’ tees, but started by three putting the opening hole on Saturday and carded an approximate 74 to Pepperell’s 72, despite holing a lengthy birdie on the 18th.

The Englishman won the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters and Sky Sports British Masters last season and while he may have 11 more victories to go to match McIlroy's European Tour tally, he now has one thing on his CV the Northern Irishman does not - a victory over Knox.

“I did beat him so make sure you report that, I don’t want any myths going around,” Pepperell joked. “Which makes me better than Rory McIlroy apparently.

“I wasn’t sure I was playing with him until I saw him on the range hitting balls actually and then I thought I’m in trouble. He had a really nice swing. The course is probably a little too long for him at this point but man, he’s a good player and his short game was brilliant.

“I offered to give him a putt on 15 from five feet, right to left downhill and he refused to take it and then he missed it. I wanted to be really generous in case he did beat me and then I had an excuse.

“I always thought I would like to go out on my own and get it over with in two hours but it is nice to have company actually, especially someone like Jeff.”

Pepperell has posted scores of 74, 73 and 72 on his Masters debut and believes Augusta should suit his strong iron play going forward, but admitted he will need to improve his putting.

“Even though it’s my first time, on this course it’s pretty obvious where you don’t want to go,” the 28-year-old added. “It’s easy to say local knowledge plays a part, but you’d have to be either entirely stupid or terrible to hit it in some of the spots you don’t want to be round here - I could be the former.

“I’ve been a little frustrated with the way I’ve played, I struggled for momentum out there and not really had a whole lot going on.

“It’s been very difficult to get the adrenaline flowing when I haven’t been making many putts and keep hitting it into the water on 13 - might as well do it tomorrow, four times in a row for a laugh.

“But it’s been good. I’ve enjoyed it. The par three (contest) was fun, playing with Matt (Wallace) when he had his hole-in-one and losing some money to him.”

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1WOODS, TigerUSA18-13
T2JOHNSON, DustinUSA18-12
T2KOEPKA, BrooksUSA18-12
T5DAY, JasonAUS18-11

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