Sandy Lyle praised Scott Gregory for his battling qualities after a frustrating Masters bow for the Corhampton ace.
The 22-year-old shot a 10-over-par 82 on the opening day at Augusta.
A round that included two birdies and nine pars was overshadowed by a scorecard that also included four bogeys, a double bogey and two triples.
Two of those blemishes came in the opening two holes, with Gregory recording a seven at the par-four first and a bogey at two.
Such a start contributed to the reigning British Amateur champion now facing a battle to make the weekend cut in Georgia.
But 1988 Masters winner Lyle, who was playing alongside Gregory on the opening day, believes all is not lost.
He saw enough of the England international’s game to suggest the player could shoot below par on day two (5.13pm BST).
Lyle, who shot a 77 on Thursday, said: ‘I think there’s nothing wrong with his (Gregory’s) ball striking.
‘He just got in a few nasty spots where you just don’t want to be, and maybe just lack of experience of playing the course.
‘Over the green at the first is not good and he ended up making seven, just from over the back.
‘That’s the sort of thing you just try and avoid as best you can. Middle of the green is fine.
‘Silly little bogey at two, from just short of the green on the right, and in a good position and then ends up three-putting it with a bad chip shot there.
‘Not the best of starts.
‘But he hung in there okay. He had a few opportunities to make birdies and, I mean, you could do the same thing Friday and shoot 71, just like that.
‘He was very close.’