Jim Souhan
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AUGUSTA, GA. – How hard is it to play Augusta National when the greens are fast and the wind is swirling?

Take it from a couple of former Gophers: It appears to be very difficult.

Erik van Rooyen and Alex Gaugert were teammates at Minnesota. Van Rooyen made the cut at the Masters for the first time this year, and Gaugert, his caddie, carried a bag featuring a maroon headcover reading "Ski-U-Mah."

Van Rooyen has won six times as a professional around the world. Saturday, van Rooyen missed two fairways in spots where someone outside the ropes could stand next to him and hear his conversion with Gaugert.

The par-4 fifth hole is a monster. It typically plays at 495 yards, and there are two deep bunkers down the left side of the fairway.

Saturday, van Rooyen pushed his drive just off the fairway to the right, leaving the ball on pine straw over dirt, with tree limbs obscuring the green.

The conversation between the two went something like this:

Van Rooyen, holding the booklet that details the contours of the green: "What's the yardage?"

Gaugert: "I have 190 [yards]."

Van Rooyen: "What do I have to do to end up in this bowl [on the green]?"

Gaugert: "Are you going high or low to get past that branch?"

Van Rooyen: "It's hard to hit it high here, with that lie. If I'm short, we can just putt it up from there."

Gaugert: "One thousand percent."

Van Rooyen: "I'm hitting the 6-[iron]."

Van Rooyen punched a low 6-iron that scooted to the back right of the large green, then two-putted for an admirable par.

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On the par-4 seventh, van Rooyen pushed his drive to the right again, saying, "Get lucky," as the ball fell into the trees. After reaching his ball, he found a path between the branches that might allow him to reach the small, sloping green. He and Gaugert conferred again, pointing at different openings, then van Rooyen hit the ball crisply. It caught a branch and deflected into the middle of the fairway. He pitched to the middle of the green and two-putted for a costly bogey.

They weren't the only ones talking. Van Rooyen was playing alongside Will Zalatoris, who pulled his drive left on the fifth hole and said, "Golly, William, you stink."

Van Rooyen shot a 78 on Saturday, finishing bogey-bogey-double bogey.

"Couldn't find a fairway," he said. "Really hit the driver poor. It's so hard to score from out of these trees. You have to be in position on this golf course. Green's faster than yesterday."

What would he do between Saturday's round and Sunday's tee time?

"Try and lick the wounds and go try and find some momentum tomorrow."