Steven Fox, 22, of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, won the 2012 U.S. Amateur Championship after surviving a 17-player playoff to reach match play and then coming from two holes down with two to play in a 37-hole final. He is sharing his thoughts on his first Masters Tournament with Thomas Bonk of Masters.com in this exclusive personal diary.
My round of 76 could have been a lot better because I struck the ball well, like in the last week and a half, when my game kind of went from mediocre to good.
I’m happy the way I hit it, but I missed way too many putts. I’m frustrated about how I misread the greens today. I made a good one from about 12 feet on No. 1 for par, and I was happy with bogey after my tee shot at No. 2, when my tee shot landed in the hazard. But it was well left of the hazard at one point. At No. 8, I hit it on, didn’t hear any cheers, but I had 25 feet for eagle and left it just short and made an easy birdie.
I made bogey at 11, but it wasn’t a bad bogey. At 12, I hit it long, putted it to eight feet, and the ball moved the other way, which was unfortunate. I hit a lot of good putts that were just misread, but then I also got the read right and hit some bad putts.
I missed a 5-footer for birdie at the 13th. On the 15th, I missed a 6-footer for birdie. Just a bad putt. On 17, I caught a tree, it kicked right, then put it in a bunker and made bogey. I hit a bad tee shot at 18 and unfortunately didn’t get the putt to drop.
My swing felt a little different from the driving range on just the first and second tee. It was just nerves. It felt a little weird, but after that, the swing was fine. Having all the galleries here, I was less nervous.
It could have been worse, but I’m sort of disappointed: I was confident with my putting coming in. I’ve putted a lot this week. I’m getting my eyes over the ball. On some of my putts, I might have overdone it a little bit.
Nothing happened to shake my confidence. If anything, it helped it.
I know I can play out here. I hit the ball good, my ball-striking hopefully stays the same. I’m really familiar with this course. I enjoy the course, and having one round under my belt, I shouldn’t be as nervous and I’ll be ready to go.
I enjoyed my pairing with Bubba Watson and Ian Poulter. They’re both good guys. And on the first hole when I saw Bubba hit it right and Ian hit it left, I was like, “All right, they have some nerves, and they’re not right down the middle every time. No one is perfect.”
It is a relief that the first round is over, but I wish I was out there and could hit those putts again.