• The Masters

Virtual Lynn-sanity at Augusta National

ESPN staff
April 11, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
David Lynn loves to prank his friends - including his caddie © Getty Images
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ESPN will be providing live commentary during all four days of the Masters from Augusta National - along with all the news, views and opinion when it gets underway on Thursday.

David Lynn's humour travels well across the Atlantic, and it appears his golf does too.

The Englishman, in the field this week at Augusta National after finishing second at the US PGA Championship at the end of last year, is making just his third career appearance in a major - but topped the field at the Masters for a few hours after an opening round of 68 on Thursday.

The Wigan-born golfer opened his tournament with a birdie at the first, added two more at eight and nine to reach the turn at three-under, before further birdies at 11, 12 and 15 (between his two mistakes of the day, at the historically tricky 10th and 17th) put him top of the leaderboard among the early finishers.

Australian Marc Leishman later overtook him with a 66, but Lynn remains well placed ahead of Friday's second round.

"It's about playing the percentages," Lynn said. "When I was on the ninth, I turned to my caddie and said, `We're leading the Masters.' He just looked at me and smiled. I told him, `I'd rather be leading it Sunday afternoon.'

"But it's not a bad thing to see your name up there leading the Masters. That's always something I can look back on."

The moniker incorporated into his Twitter handle and stitched into his pink practice bag - 'Lynn Dawg' - might not give the best indication of the standard of the humour of the 39-year-old, but the Americans have gone wild for his particular brand of comedy. Dubbed "Lynnsanity", the golf corps on the PGA Tour have grown to love his self-deprecating style, as the man known as 'Coathanger' by his friends (for his tall, wiry frame) makes the most of the opportunities that the runner-up finish at Kiawah Island to end 2012 has presented him with.

Lynn is known around the circuit for his pranks, with even his closest friends not safe. When his caddie, Wayne Husselbury, recently created a dating website profile, Lynn immediately snuck away and posted one of his own - posing as a comely young women with remarkably similar interests to sucker the unsuspecting Husselbury in.

"I let the cat out of the bag after only a few hours," Lynn later told Golfweek of the prank. "I wasn't cruel."

On the course, results so far in America have been mixed. Lynn has made six cuts, but a top-four at the Honda Classic is his best finish by some margin. At the Honda, he was paired with Tiger Woods for one round and outscored him by two shots.

"So is this what happens out here?" Lynn tweeted a few hours later. "Outscore Tiger when you play with him and whisked straight off for a drug test."

Having skipped tournaments for over a month in 2012 to ensure his world ranking (No. 98) remained the same and enabled him to get into the US PGA (his first tournament appearance in the United States), Lynn has never looked back.

Perhaps no major runner-up has ever gone into the next such event still so overlooked (Lynn was 300/1 in some quarters before Thursday's play began), but the Englishman has proven he is overawed by no occasion and will see no reason why he cannot continue his good form into the weekend.

He has a brother, a professional at Trentham Park in Stoke, and Lynn believes the only difference between the siblings might be in the mind - although his own career never quite took off as some expected after he claimed the KLM Open (his one pro victory to date) on the European Tour in 2004.

"Belief is a big part of it," he told the Independent earlier this week. "My brother openly admitted he used to struggle with his nerves. I'd go out with him many times. He had an awesome game.

"There is not a lot in it. Maybe one shot a round between the top players and the good ones. But when you are grinding shots out every round on tough courses the question is, where does that stroke come from?"

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