Short game pivotal to Gregory's Masters bow

SCOTT GREGORY's short game will stand him in good stead for his Masters debut.

Wednesday, 5th April 2017, 6:30 am
Updated Saturday, 8th April 2017, 10:22 pm
Scott Gregory. Picture: Andrew Griffin PPP-140209-155453001
Scott Gregory. Picture: Andrew Griffin PPP-140209-155453001

That is the message from James Blatch, a pro at Portsmouth Golf Centre, where Gregory practises on a daily basis.

Gregory makes his Augusta bow tomorrow, where he will play alongside 1988 green jacket winner Sandy Lyle and American Sean O’Hair. They tee off at 1.55pm British time.

The 22-year-old will tackle arguably the hardest golf course in the world, one that has broken even the best players in the sport’s history.

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Gregory qualified for the Masters after winning the British Amateur Championship last year.

He’s been Stateside for the past few weeks and has warmed up for the tournament by winning the Georgia Cup, beating his US counterpart Curtis Luck.

Augusta’s lightning greens and narrow fairways demand golfers to be at the very top of their game if they are to prevail.

And Blatch believes Gregory’s style will suit the course.

He said: ‘Scott’s short game is going to be his biggest thing. His short game is really on point.

‘Scott is not the biggest of people but he works hard in the gym to make sure he’s driving the ball a distance – he reminds me of Luke Donald.

‘He is straight as an arrow off the tee and is good with his irons.

‘He keeps the ball in play and, if he does miss the greens, having the ability to get up and down is massive.’

Simon Andrews, from Portsmouth Golf Centre, has travelled to Georgia to help Gregory prepare.

The pair have been doing their homework on the course and Gregory also played six holes with current world number one Dustin Johnston.

A deluge of rain has soaked the course in the build-up to the first tee shot tomorrow, causing practise rounds to be abandoned.

Winning the green jacket is a significant ask for a debutant at Augusta.

The Silver Cup is awarded to the highest finishing amateur who makes the cut.

And Blatch reckons Gregory has a strong case to win that prize.

‘The part and parcel for him is to make the cut,’ he added.

‘The Silver Cup would be something that is on his list.

‘There has been a lot of rain.

‘That will naturally bring the scores of everyone else down but it will help him for his first time playing in the Masters.

‘There has been a real buzz around here.

‘There is a lot of excitement anyway but having someone we know adds to it all.’

The News will be providing live updates of Gregory’s progress from Augusta this week, with head of sport Mark McMahon at the Masters to bring you all the latest.