Friday, August 29, 2014

Familiar faces surround Watney at The Masters

From page B1 | April 11, 2014 |

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Former Davis High standout Nick Watney had some people over to his rented house in Augusta, Ga., on Wednesday, the night before Round 1 of The Masters.

The get-together included Watney’s close friend Bill Haas, another PGA Tour pro, and his wife Julie and the two golfers even teamed up for a game of ping pong against Watney’s trainer Kyler Brown and Jason Fray, one of the former Blue Devil’s old Davis Muni buddies.

On Thursday, Watney shot an even0par 72 in the first round at Augusta National, to trail the first round leader by three strokes. That leader? Watney’s buddy Haas, who fired a 4-under 68 on Day 1.

“Billy and I were on a team and we were undefeated (at ping pong) so maybe if he comes over again, maybe a little of that can rub off on me, that 68,” Watney said. “But, yeah, I love Bill. He came over and we had a good time.”

Fray graduated from Woodland High in 2000, one year after Watney finished up at DHS, and the two were mainstays on the Davis Municipal Golf Course during those days. And being on opposing prep golf teams meant they got in their fair share of duels.

“You have no idea how much I miss those days,” Fray said.

Fray remembers Watney hitting up to 500 balls most days on the range and he felt that they spent ‘every waking moment’ of their formative years at that golf course.

Davis Muni also was represented at the Masters Thursday by its current PGA apprentice Chris Mapalo, who also competed against Watney in high school, and Ben LeFebvre, one of Watney’s former Blue Devil teammates.

“I remember when we used to all watch the Masters together and now we’re out here watching (Watney) play against the best players in the world,” LeFebvre said. “It’s pretty unreal.”

Unreal indeed for the local trio as it is their first time taking in Augusta National’s majestic views. They arrived on Monday and are leaving Friday, time to get back to reality after a few days at one of golf’s meccas.

“We used to imagine being here so now that they’re here supporting me it’s fun,” Watney said. “It’s cool to see them because they’ve been with me every step so it’s been great.”

Watney’s been battling a sore back recently and took a cortisone shot 10 days ago for it. The back began to flare up before his final round last month at the Cadillac Championship in Miami, forcing him to withdraw.

Watney said it was “feeling good” after his round on Thursday.

After missing his first four greens and going 2-over par through that stretch, Watney collected himself and rallied with back-to-back birdies on No. 6 and No. 7. A late birdie on 17, from 25 feet away, took every bit of Watney’s body English to go in.

The 32-year-old was looking to be a bit more aggressive when his second round got going Friday morning.

“This course is such a fine line between (being) conservative and sometimes that gets you into more trouble,” Watney said. “I just need to swing away and enjoy it (Friday).”

Also unique to this week is the presence of Watney’s first child. Four-week-old Harper Watney is at her first tournament this week and her father is soaking it in.

“It’s surreal to say my daughter is at the Masters,” Watney said. “So we’re having a lot of fun with it. Hopefully, she behaves herself out here.”

So how does Watney feel about being a father for the first time?

“It’s hard to put into words, I feel like she’s changed so much even though she only weighs about seven pounds,” Watney said. “Every day it’s something new for her. So we’re enjoying it. My wife (Amber) might not be enjoying the nights so much, but we’re loving the daytime.”

— Garrett Johnston is a freelance golf writer based in Sacramento. He has been covering the PGA Tour for the past nine years, and has followed Watney closely for the past four.



Garrett Johnston

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .


    Saving Putah Creek: a quiet concert at sunset

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Mr. Dolcini goes to Washington

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Winton to be feted for her many years of community work

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Davis Innovation Center team fields questions

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Researchers solve mystery of Death Valley’s moving rocks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

    California extends review of $25B delta plan

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Assembly approves statewide ban on plastic bags

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Celebrate the Senior Center at Sept. 9 luncheon

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Need a new best friend?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Equestrian eventing competition slated

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Dinner, auction benefit Yolo County CASA

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Forum explores local mental health services

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Solar-cooking workshop set at Food Co-op

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Kids can sign up for a library card and get a free book

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Explorit Science Center: Volunteers supercharge summer camp

    By Lisa Justice | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    Tee off for Davis’ continued prosperity

    By Lily Holmes | From Page: A4

    Bodega Marine Laboratory hosts open house

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    Local group charts a year’s worth of beauty in flowers

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Free blood pressure screenings offered

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Name Droppers: UCD honors two of its own

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

    Books, conversation and poetry at Logos

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7



    Let’s sell the MRAP on eBay

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

    Seeing both sides of ‘tank’

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

    What if we need MRAP?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

    How could tank be helpful?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: C2

    Don’t sentence our police to death

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: C2, 1 Comment

    Will Davis see river water?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

    Travel buddy is getting too fat

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5



    Forget the score; focus on the energy brought by Aggies

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

    Returning seniors, new faces lead promising DHS links squad

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Devil golfers return from Scotland with smiles on their faces

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Devils scrimmage with Sac

    By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    UCD-Stanford: the clock is down to counting the minutes

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

    Wire briefs: Aces cruise past Cats at Raley

    By Wire and staff reports | From Page: B6

    Sports briefs: DHS girls fall by the slimmest of net margins

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B6 | Gallery





    ‘The November Man’: Who can be trusted?

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    B Street’s ‘The Ladies Foursome’ is aces

    By Bev Sykes | From Page: A9 | Gallery



    Technology makes a great car better

    By Ali Arsham | From Page: C1 | Gallery



    Elaine Dracia Greenberg

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Margarita Elizondo

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4