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Masters rookie Ryuji Imada will make his first stroll down Magnolia Lane as a competitor on Thursday. All week, the 32-year-old Tampa, Fla., resident will share his insights into being inside the ropes at Augusta National with ESPN.com.
Imada has one PGA Tour victory (the 2008 AT&T Classic) and has earned more than $6.5 million since joining the tour in 2005.
While attending the University of Georgia, Imada was a first-team All-American in 1999, leading the Bulldogs to their first NCAA championship. He was the runner-up in the individual competition.
Imada moved from his native Japan to Florida when he was 14 and captured his first junior tournament at 15.
Make sure to check back daily during the Masters for Imada's commentary on the year's first major championship.
Saturday's round has come to a close and today, unfortunately, was just the same story on a different day. I took advantage of some good play early to get birdies on the fifth and seventh holes, but didn't birdie either of the par-5s on the front 9.
After shooting 2-under par on the front nine, I was poised for a run on the back. But my putter let me down a little bit and two 3-putts on Nos. 12 and 13 soured my momentum a bit. I think of myself as one of the better putters out here, and the speed and line this week has challenged me as much or more than anywhere I've ever played.
As I've done all week, I gave myself chances after those bogeys at Nos. 15, 16, 17 and 18. I couldn't get one to drop and ended up at even-par for the day and 1-over for the week. It's so hard to stay patient when you're swinging well and you want to attack, but that's when you see guys making double bogeys or worse. I have done a good job of that so far this week and stayed away from the big number.
As I've said all week, whoever made putts from 8-10 feet would be in contention at the end, and I just haven't made a lot of those. The undulations and subtleties in the greens are so difficult to judge.
In terms of course setup, more thought goes into hole locations at this event than any other, and if a hole is in a certain area, it's there for a reason. The Masters committee wants to challenge us and they've definitely done a heck of a job.
I've been really pleased with the setup and the ability to make birdies if you execute shots and position the ball well. They aren't making it easy, but it is fair and the scores are reflecting that much. Many of you have read some of the backlash over the winning scores the last two years and I think with good weather and some good thought, we've had a nice set up. I have been watching all afternoon like most of you, and the guys at the top of the leaderboard are holing putts and thinking really well out there.
This week has blown by and I've got so many memories already to take advantage of moving forward. It's everything I've dreamed of and a little bit more.
I'm going to give it some thought and put the week in perspective tomorrow after we get done. I've still got a lot to play for Sunday even though I'm tied for 37th -- they invite the top 16 back next year -- and if the putts drop, a low score is not out of reach.
Ryuji Imada joined the PGA Tour in 2005. You can visit his official Web site for more information.