By petedirenzo
Friday, April 10, 2009

Hunter Mahan AUGUSTA, Ga. -- After posting a 66 Thursday, Hunter Mahan shot 75 Friday. You might expect the 26-year-old, who lives in Plano, Texas, to be a little sour after adding nine shots to his first-round total, but he was surprisingly good-natured behind the 18th green.With conditions in Augusta getting tougher, Mahan seemed to realize that his three-under par total for the tournament still puts him in good position heading into the weekend. He is six shots behind fellow Ryder Cuppers Chad Campbell and Kenny Perry."I didn't hit it bad," he said. "I just hit some dumb shots. In a wind like this you've got to stay very committed and focus on where to miss it -- and I didn't miss it in the right spots today and I got punished for it."He was certainly punished on the 155-yard, par-3 12th hole. Mahan's tee shot was grabbed by the wind and fell into the center of Rae's Creek. He dropped close to the hazard but knocked his pitch shot into the rough behind the hole. From there, he chipped onto the green and two-putted for a triple-bogey six."I just didn't focus on exactly how far I needed to hit it," he said calmly. Maybe Mahan was able to stay upbeat because he did a good Harry Houdini impression on the sixth hole. After blocking a 7-iron to the right on the par 3, his ball stopped on a raised area in the back-right portion of the Y-shaped green. Mahan had to putt slightly in the fringe and down a slope to get the ball near the hole. He left it five feet short but made the par putt."That was big, really big," he said. "Especially on a course like this because you don't want to get behind the 8-ball early. It's relentless."Mahan has not only been battling the course today, but also chest congestion and allergies that have made it tough for him to breathe all week. "I'm still not 100%," he said. "I've been coughing a lot and haven't been able to sleep through the night."With 36 holes to go, and six shots separating him from the leaders, Mahan is not going to take dead aim at every flag he sees on Saturday. "I don't think this is a course that you can to be too aggressive on," he said. "You'll hurt yourself. I'm just going to go out and try to play like I did the first day."

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