Friday, April 10, 2009

AUGUSTA, Ga. — A year ago, lefthander Steve Flesch went to the back nine on Sunday with a chance to win the Masters. A dunk shot in Rae’s Creek at the 12th hole and a run of bogeys coming in ended his chances, and he settled for a tie for fifth.It doesn’t appear likely that Flesch will get back in contention again this year unless he puts two sensational rounds together on the weekend, but it does appear that his rounds of 71 and 74 will make the cut. Conditions this week, with soft greens and no wind Thursday, were completely unlike last year.“The course is so different, it’s playing so much shorter this week,” said Flesch, 41, who lives in Union, Ky. “I got to 13 in two both days and got to 15 today. The course is more fun to play this week. Granted, the weather is better, but you’re going to see a lot more excitement from 12 through 15 this year because guys can get home on the par 5s.“I’m putting well and short-gaming the heck out of it because my iron game has been sketchy.  It’s not near as good as it was last year. I’m trapping it more and hitting my irons a little farther. It’s only five yards farther, but two yards here makes a huge difference.”The biggest highlight for Flesch this week is that he’s accompanied by his 10-year-old son, Griffin. “This week last year was where he got bitten by the game of golf,” Flesch said. “He just fell in love with the game, learned to appreciate what I do for a living. I was in the thick of it here on the weekend and he saw what happened. He’s been looking forward to this week for a whole year.”Griffin has been thoroughly absorbed by golf, his dad explained.  “Most people give up something they crave for Lent, like Starbucks or ice cream,” Flesch said. “Grif gave up the flop shot. His teacher said, 'The flop shot?'”Griffin, standing next to his dad under the tree by the Augusta National clubhouse, started laughing when his dad got to that part of the story. “A minute ago, he just said, 'Dad, I can’t wait until Monday so I can start flopping 'em again,'” Flesch added.

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