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Former UGA golfer battles rogue turtle and other oddities to stay in hunt at the Masters

This is how the Masters impacts Augusta, and vice versa

Ricky Raman, the chief operating officer at PeachState Hospitality, talks about the impact the Masters has had on Augusta but also how Augusta has made the Masters what it is today.
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Ricky Raman, the chief operating officer at PeachState Hospitality, talks about the impact the Masters has had on Augusta but also how Augusta has made the Masters what it is today.

Former Georgia Bulldog Kevin Kisner came into Friday inside the top 15 after the first round of the Masters Tournament.

His second round didn’t get off to a promising start as he found himself +3 heading into the 15th hole. A pair of birdies on 15 and 16 saved his round and kept him within striking distance of the lead.

“... so gets me back somewhat in the hunt, if they don’t run away,” he said. “I’ve got a low one in me if I can keep hitting the golf ball the way I’m hitting.”

But it was a series of wacky events that defined Kisner’s round, not his score. He opened the day tweeting about bad weather in the area.

The Aiken native is getting to stay close to home this week which sounds like an advantage.

“But I couldn’t find a rain jacket in my house this morning,” he said. “So I was a little pissed at that. It’s pretty sad when you stay at home and can’t find your stuff, right?”

By the time players got underway, the weather had pretty much cleared out but left some water still on the course. Kisner got into a brief discussion with a rules official over casual water or temporary water as his ball was stuck down in the mud at the 6th hole.

“I think it was down there in the mud. And every time he said there was less water but if there’s any water, it’s casual water, right?” he explained. “And then he finally came to his senses.”

On the 9th hole he hit the ball into the back of a security guard.

“You’ve got to mark it where it is. Like at rest. And then when he gets up you’ve got to drop it back near there,” Kisner said “I told him he was pretty worthless for not kicking it back on the green for me.”

If that wasn’t enough, Kisner encountered a rogue turtle on the 16th green.

“Well we ran him off before we teed off on 16 and then when we putted he was back on the green,” Kisner said, “So I think he moseyed off by the time we finished, he didn’t know what was going on.”

And Kisner wasn’t the only player with Georgia ties to have an eventful day. Zach Johnson, who lives in St. Simons, became a viral sensation when he accidentally hit his ball on a practice swing into the tee box. Kisner was asked if he had ever done that before.

“No. Maybe when I was drinking.” Kisner said with a laugh. He was unaware of what happened to Johnson, as he was in the group behind Kisner.

Despite the unexpected twists, Kisner finished +1 on the day (-2 for the tournament) and is still hoping he can make a push into the top of the leaderboard. His best finish at the Masters is 28th and is on pace to finish above that.

“You know, majors somewhat fit me, because you don’t go out and shoot 7‑under every day.” he said. “But if I keep my irons doing what I’m doing and get the right numbers, then I’ll have a chance.”

One of the things that could help propel him to the top is a sense of home field advantage as he says he loves having the Bulldog fans out on the course supporting him.

“Yeah, (I’m seeing) Georgia people, which is awesome. I always try to acknowledge them but sometimes you’re not quite in the right frame of mind for all of that,” he said. “It’s really cool to stay in your own bed. The drive gets a little bit old but going home at night and having all your stuff is really nice.”

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