Lynn’s Masters moment was 17 years in the making

AUGUSTA, GA. (AP) - David Lynn spotted the leaderboard as he was making the turn in front of Augusta National clubhouse.

Yes, it was something to behold.

“It’s obviously not a bad thing to see your name up there leading the Masters,” Lynn said after Thursday’s opening round. “But there’s a lot to be done for the rest of the week, and hopefully I can keep my name up there.”

The lead slipped away on Day 1, but a 4-under 68 left the Englishman just two strokes behind the front-runners, Sergio Garcia and Marc Leishman.

Not bad for someone playing their first Masters. But maybe not that big of a surprise, considering Lynn was the runner-up to Rory McIlroy in last year’s PGA Championship.

He certainly had to be patient. This moment was 17 years in the making.

“It’s taken me a golfing lifetime to get here,” Lynn said.

The 39-year-old Lynn first played on the European Tour in 1996, his lone victory coming eight years later. But his career took a new direction after his performance last August at Kiawah Island _ McIlroy won by eight strokes but Lynn was next after back-to-back 68s on the weekend.

He cashed an $865,000 check, moved across the Atlantic to play on the PGA Tour, and began prepping for the Masters.

“It’s given me a second wind,” Lynn said. “Everything is new. I’m going to different places every week, different courses. It’s like I’ve started my career again almost.”

Heading into Augusta, he got some tips from old friend David Gilford, who shot 67 the first time he played the Masters in 1995.

The advice: “Don’t be too intimidated by the greens. There are birdies out there. Try and be aggressive when you can be.”

Lynn must have listened.

He got off to a strong start, knocking a wedge to 8 feet at the very first hole and rolling in the birdie putt. A 6-footer on the par-5 eighth pushed him to 2 under, then a perfect wedge that plopped down 6 feet below the hole left him with another easy birdie at No. 9, sending him to the back side with a 33.

Lynn finally stumbled at the 10th, where a tricky 3-footer slid by the hole for his first bogey. But Lynn birdied the next two holes, banging in a 40-foot putt at the tough 11th.

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