Sugrue’s Masters Memories

Although his Masters adventure is over James Sugrue will have plenty of memories.  An impressive  second round of 71 got him into the red for the day.  Unfortunately he’ll miss the cut for the weekend but today’s round will take away the bitter taste from his disappointing opening round.

A handful of birdies, six in all, were among the highlights today.  A few impressive drives and a few good recoveries were also part or the round, and a ball in the water on the famous 12th will also form part of the memories of an incredible week in Augusta.  It was a busy day for James, he was back on the course early to complete his final nine holes from the first round following a rain delay yesterday.

James Sugrue (Mallow) 
Picture: Niall O’Shea

Sugrue’s second round was much better.  He was two under for the day after just three holes thanks to birdies on the second and third.  In a really strong mental display, Sugrue put aside the first round and he went out in two under par for his front nine.  After parring the 10th and 11th, he put a ball in the water at the signature 12th hole.  Although he had a good chip onto the green, a missed putt meant he recorded a double bogey five in the heart of Amen Corner.  But again he bounced back with a birdie on the par five 13th, a great drive over the trees gave him a great line for his approach.  But his second shot didn’t go to plan with the ball landing on the bank of the greenside creek.  Sugrue played a deft chip from the bank and slotted the birdie putt.

Another highlight came when his tee shot on the 16th landed within 5 feet of the pin.  The Mallow man again slotted the birdie putt.  A par brought his round to an end at the famous 18th, signing for a one under par 71, and 148 for the tournament.

For the record, Sugrue finished on +4 after rounds of 77 and 71.  He had eight birdies over the two days and plenty of memories from his first Masters start.  He’ll count the night in the Crow’s Nest, speaking at the Tournament Dinner and the drive down Magnolia Lane among the memories away from the course.  The next step for James , although tournament schedules and opportunities to play will determine when the Mallow man make the next move in his golfing career.

Michael Collins Augusta Preview

Michael Collins pictured at his base in Mallow Golf Range in Copstown.
Picture: Niall O’Shea

It’s a long way from Mallow to Augusta, but that’s the trip that James Sugrue and his coach Michael Collins had to undertake last week on the way to the Masters Tournament.  Travel restrictions meant that Collins was the only person to head off with Sugrue, and the PGA teaching professional was delighted to be alongside his pupil on the journey to golf’s most famous setting.

“Even though I was really looking forward to getting to Augusta, Covid-19 meant that it was hard to relax knowing that we had to negotiate three airports, two flights and 12 hours in the air” explained Collins.  However after arriving on Friday both Collins and Sugrue got the all clear from their Covid-19 tests and they could head for the course with the important trip down Magnolia Lane.

“It was pretty cool driving down Magnolia Lane on Saturday morning, something that I will never forget, or get tired of” said Collins.  “James has a local caddy for the week so we met Jack and played the front nine on Saturday and the back nine on Sunday morning.  As everybody has told me before we came over, you don’t realise how undulating it is until you see it.  The hill on the 10th could nearly be a ski slope.  They have told us that it will play a bit differently to April as they have had to overseed to get it playable in November.”  The weather is making a difference too as Michael continued, “It is playing pretty soft, meaning a lot of long approach shots into slopey, fast greens.  You will have to be very good tee to green this week to be in contention.  The greens take a lot of reading as the grain isn’t obvious but definitely has an influence.  We also have the added element of some weather heading through here due to the tropical storm coming up from Florida.  There is the possibility of weather delays which adds yet another element to the November Masters.”

PGA Professional Michael Collins who has also made the trip to Augusta forthe 2020 Masters Tournament.
Picture Niall O’Shea

Despite the changes in plans and schedules since March, Sugrue has kept his focus on the golf as his coach added: “To say his year has been disrupted is a gross understatement, but he has shown a great attitude and continued to work away, through all the uncertainty around competitions, lockdowns etc., and kept a positive mentality which can’t have been easy.  He has kept working hard at home since the Irish Open and has arrived here in good shape.  Ultimately, he is playing nicely, he has a great temperament and attitude and has a spring in his step after the Cork hurling and especially the footballers results over the weekend.”  The plan is to enjoy the challenge and play well.