Thomas Bjorn crafts out fine 68 at Augusta
43-year-old Dane claims second round to be “right up there” with the best of his career
Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn fires a seven-iron approach to eight feet on the 16th to complete a hat-trick of birdies during his second-round 68.
After a hard day’s work, a man is entitled to put his feet up. Thomas Bjorn agreed. He retreated to his rented house – a place he can call home for the week – to do just that after a second round 68 yesterday, crafted with patience which is a trait that hasn’t always been a bedfellow.
The score – which featured a hat-trick of birdies from the 14th – enabled the so-called ‘Great Dane’ to reach the midpoint of this 78th Masters on 141, three under, and among those in closest pursuit of Bubba Watson.
Whether or not that chase will prove to be a forlorn one remains to the seen, but Bjorn – enjoying his golf these days and currently second on the European Tour’s Race to Dubai standings – is the dogged sort, not one to go down without a fight. It’s in his character.
Bjorn has had his moments in the Majors, not all of them good. This is his 52nd appearance on one of golf’s showcase examinations and, as of now, he hasn’t yet got his hands on a prized piece of silverware.
He’s had his moments, for sure. In the 2003 British Open at Royal St Georges, two up with three holes to play, he seemed destined to get his hands on the Claret Jug. That is, until he found a greenside trap on the par-three 16th and took three to escape. Bjorn, cutting an increasingly abject figure, seemed to have a shovel in his hands rather than a sand wedge. Ben Curtis stole in to take the title.
Two years later, in the 2005 US PGA championship at Baltustrol, Bjorn went down to the wire in his quest to be the spoilsport in the story that was all about Phil Mickelson and stretched into a Monday finish due to the weather. Bjorn would finish a shot shy.
Now, here he is, playing some of the best golf of his career. Bjorn’s last win – of 21 worldwide – came in last December’s Nedbank Challenge and he has been solid in his outings this year without setting the world alight.
An opening round 73 on Thursday left him somewhat frustrated, but he atoned in full yesterday with a round that featured a strong finish which was actually spurred on by his failure to birdie the 13th.
On that par-five 13th in two, after two great shots, Bjorn three-putted and walked off with a par. “I felt like I had to be a little bit more aggressive in my golf and I took on the shots on 14 and 16 and they paid off,” said Bjorn of a round he claimed to be “right up there” with the best of his career.