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Quiros smiles through uneven Friday

Quiros AUGUSTA, Ga. -– The Boom Group of the 2011 Masters partially self-destructed Friday, with two players escaping with minor injuries while the third was a casualty of the cut line. Alvaro Quiros, Jhonattan Vegas and Gary Woodland, who provided thrills while going 12 under for their last six holes Thursday, were less scintillating Friday, when Quiros and Woodland managed only 73s and Vegas missed the cut with a 76.
“Frustrating,” said Woodland, who made two double-bogeys and missed a 30-inch birdie putt on 18 to finish at 2 under for the tournament. “I let that one go. I had an opportunity to play good and I didn’t do it.”
Vegas was followed by about a dozen close friends in green “Team Vegas” shirts, but they didn’t have much to cheer for Friday.
“We played junior golf together since we were 11,” said Carlos Alvarez, one of the small army of green-shirted Vegas supporters who like Vegas lives in Houston. “I used to beat him all the time. He always hit it long, but his short game got a lot better when he moved to America.” 
After firing a 65 to share the first-round lead, Quiros made three birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey to drop to 6-under, tied with Geoff Ogilvy (second straight 69) and four behind leader Rory McIlroy (69).
“It’s the first time in a long time that I can check the clubs of the other colleagues,” Quiros said, smiling about the length of all three players in his threesome, which he led in driving distance, 302.5 yards to 294.25 (Woodland) and 281.25 (Vegas).
Come to think of it, Quiros was smiling about just about everything. Told that his caddie, Gareth Bryn Lord, was having trouble converting from yards to meters in his first week with the long-hitting Spaniard—Bryn Lord used to work for Robert Karlsson—Quiros smiled.
“Well, I didn’t know that,” he said. “But after that I’m going to pay more attention to the yardage.” Asked if Woodland might have learned any Spanish, Quiros said no, he and Gareth speak English. “So if he learns any Spanish, it’s not recommended,” Quiros said, prompting laughter in the press room. Even Ronald Townsend, the green jacket who sat next to Quiros to moderate his interview, smiled and chuckled throughout the interview.
Quiros is contagious like that. He even smiled about the group’s atrocious play on the par-3 12th hole. In between clubs from 156 yards, Woodland lost an 8-iron right and into the water, took a drop, hit his third into the back bunker, barely nudged his fourth out of the sand and onto the back fringe, and chipped in for 5. Quiros hit into the same bunker off the tee, left his second shot in the sand, got his third out and two-putted: 5. Vegas, who missed long and left, chipped way past the hole and two-putted for a 4. The three players took a total of 14 shots, five over par, on one hole.
“No, nobody said a word,” Quiros said when he was asked if anyone cracked a joke on the 13th tee. “But you can see Gary Woodland’s face and my face, too; it wasn’t the proper moment to say a joke.”
He was smiling when he said it.     
(Photo: David Cannon/Getty Images)

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by Kevin Cunningham