Augusta producing low scores in first round

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- You're not having a meltdown. Those are indeed red numbers on the Masters leaderboard. All the pre-tournament talk about how the roars have disappeared at Augusta is proving so far to be all hype. Without the super-firm conditions, wind and cold of the last two years -- it's sunny, mid-70s, shorts weather today -- the birdies have returned. Chad Campell went out and birdied the first five holes. It appears that the first round will be relatively low scoring."It's playing kind of easy, there's no wind," said Kevin Sutherland, who shot 69, his first sub-70 score in three Masters appearances dating back to 2002.The course seemed a lot different to Sutherland, who hadn't played here since 2003. "I remembered a lot about the course but not as much as I thought," he said. "In '02 and '03, it rained a lot and played long. It was pretty much a quagmire. At 18, you were just hoping to have a shot to the green, maybe with a 3-wood. Today, you can drive it around the corner and have an iron in. I think the course feels a lot different just because of the weather, not the changes they've done to it."Sutherland played in a low-scoring threesome with Ross Fisher, who also shot 69, and Prayad Marksaeng, who shot a two under 70. "Those guys really played well," Sutherland said. "Prayad made a triple at 4 then bounced back and played great the rest of the way. It's always better to play with guys who are playing well."

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by Kevin Cunningham