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Masters Notebook

Moore's Effort Isn't Amateurish

By Leonard Shapiro
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, April 11, 2005; Page D05

AUGUSTA, Ga., April 10 -- Ryan Moore, with a 20-foot birdie putt on the final hole Sunday, got himself in the red under-par numbers over 72 holes playing in only his second Masters and became low amateur at Augusta National after a final-round 70. His 287 total was the best score posted by an amateur in this event since 1976.

Moore, a senior at Nevada-Las Vegas, is the defending U.S. Amateur and NCAA champion, and said "being low amateur here means a lot because it's such a big point of tradition here. I was a lot more competitive this year, and that birdie on the last hole to get in the red -- I wanted that badly. But I have a long way to go. I didn't win, I'm just a player in the field."

Moore has exemptions into the next two majors and plans to play at the U.S. Open at Pinehurst in June and the British Open at St. Andrews in July. He also earned a return trip to Augusta by finishing in the top 16 (tied for 13th) on a day when he had four birdies on the back nine.

"I hit the ball the way I wanted to," he said. "The putter held me back the first three days, but I liked the way I played today."

Jolly Good Show

Englishman David Howell acquitted himself quite nicely in his first Masters, posting his second round of the week at 69 and earning a top 16 finish (tied for 11th) with a 2-under 286 that will allow him to play again next year.

Though he had a lost-ball double bogey at the 11th, he holed a bunker shot for an eagle at the second hole. He finished with a flourish, as well, with three straight birdies at 14, 15 and 16, all achieved with four-foot putts.

Howell played with Tiger Woods on Saturday and said: "I've got a lot of catching up to do there. For me, the next time in that situation I need to handle it better. I was too nervous on the greens. Sometimes nerves can focus you, but maybe I was too nervous. Simply, he's damned good."

Els Rolls With It

Ernie Els, the runner-up in 2004 to Phil Mickelson, had a dreadful Masters salvaged only slightly by his best round of the week Sunday, an even-par 72 that left him at 10-over 290. Els had come into the week with five straight top-six Masters finishes.

"My game just wasn't there," he said. "I don't want to make any excuses. Each day something was wrong. I haven't had a chance to work on it the last couple of weeks. With the crazy weather, it's hard to work on anything. I've got to get ready for the [U.S.] Open, but I'm not thinking about that. I'm just thinking about working on my game."

Doing Your Best

Trevor Immelman, a talented 25-year-old South African, finished off his third round with a 65 Sunday morning and proclaimed it "the best round of my life. Being Augusta and the Masters and it would have to be."

Immelman, who mostly plays on the European Tour, pushed into a tie for third early in the fourth round with birdies at the fifth and sixth holes and ended his third appearance in a tie for fifth.

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