Clark out to break jinx
Tim Clark in action during round one (AFP)
Augusta - South African Tim Clark set his sights on breaking the par-three curse at the U.S. Masters after carding a four-under-par 68 in Thursday's opening round.
Fresh from winning the pre-tournament, par-three event on Wednesday, Clark birdied all four of the par-fives to end a low-scoring day at Augusta National three shots off the lead.
Asked if he feared the par-three jinx, Clark replied: "I'm not too worried about that. Someone's got to do it some time so why not me?"
Since the fun-filled par-three competition became part of the tournament build-up in 1960, no winner has gone on to clinch the Masters title in the same year.
Although Clark is yet to taste victory on the PGA Tour, he is well aware of the patience required to triumph at Augusta after finishing second here in 2006.
"This is an extremely demanding tournament and I've been here on Saturday and Sunday in the final groups," the 33-year-old said. "It's a tough experience.
"I know what it takes to win this tournament and you certainly cannot come here with that in mind starting out. You really have to take it one day at a time. I'm just really trying to enjoy it."
One of the straightest and shortest hitters on the PGA Tour, Clark took advantage of ideal scoring conditions and a shortened course to move into first-round contention.
"Going off early, we had fairly receptive greens and I just played sensibly," the three-times European Tour winner said.
"They didn't play the course to its full length today so that allows me to keep the ball on the greens and get it close when I've got wedges.
"My wedge game has been great and yesterday it gave me some confidence too.
"The course is very difficult normally and I feel like I'm always going to come here and have a hard time and struggle," added Clark.
"But I think the thing I do best here is I try and come and enjoy the tournament and have fun. I enjoy the fact that I'm at the Masters, a place I've dreamed of coming as a youngster and watched on TV for so many years.
"I'm just taking it one shot at a time and smelling the roses, as they say."