Commentary

Vegas: 'Felt like Christmas morning'

Originally Published: April 8, 2011
By Jhonattan Vegas | ESPN.com

Jhonattan VegasHarry How/Getty ImagesJhonny Vegas had only six pars Thursday, but he helped salvage his round with an eagle on 15.

Masters rookie Jhonattan Vegas will be sharing his experiences at Augusta National this week on ESPN.com.

What can I say? ... Unreal! I have been looking forward to this day since I watched my first Masters on TV in Venezuela, when Tiger won in 1997. We had a great dinner with family, friends, coaches and managers last night at the home we're staying in for the week, and everyone had great words of encouragement. I woke up today feeling like it was Christmas morning, so I was anxious -- but it was a good thing to be excited about.

The weather was beautiful today, and because I started in the last group of the day, I had plenty of time to relax this morning at the house before heading to the course. We had a nice breakfast and I had plenty of time to prepare for my first major round. I have to admit: I was a little nervous on the first tee, but as I got through the round, I became more comfortable. Just standing on the first tee at Augusta National when I came to practice was exciting, but being able to do it in front of so many spectators was special.

My pairing was with Alvaro Quiros and Gary Woodland, who are both big hitters. I'm sure it was fun for the fans to watch us play together. Usually I have no trouble being the longest hitter in my group, but today it was fun to see some of the shots these guys hit. Having played with Gary, I knew what to expect. But it was my first time with Alvaro, and we wound up having a good time together.

It was a very up-and-down round for me today, with only six pars, but I ended up scraping out an even-par round. Things could have gone really badly following my double on No. 12, but the eagle on 15 really turned the day back into something positive to build on.

I know I can make plenty of birdies out there the rest of the week, but I need to improve my putting. I missed some short putts, and you just can't do that out here and stay in contention. I went straight to the putting green after my round to work with Kevin Kirk on my putting and he pointed out some things he saw during the day, so we worked on that for a while before leaving the course.

Having finished the first round and put in some extra work, I'm ready to get back to the house and just relax. I'm sure we'll enjoy a nice meal together and just prepare for the rest of the week. I will stay positive and focus on playing my game tomorrow. With the help of making a few more putts, I think I can really play well. I look forward to enjoying three more days at the 2011 Masters.

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