AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Gary Player has known Fultom Allem a long time.
"Since he was in diapers," Player said yesterday.
One of Allem's earlier memories is watching one of golf's greatest players hitting balls on the farm his father and uncle owned in South Africa.
"I can remember from age 3," recalled Allem, 36. "It was great incentive to watch. He was the key reason for me wanting to play this game."
Yesterday, the incentive was to play better than Player, who shot 1-under-par 71. Allem did, coming in at 3-under 69.
Go for it
A year ago, Chip Beck was criticized for laying up on his approach to the 15th green during the final round. He was three shots behind eventual champion Bernhard Langer at the time.
Yesterday, Beck was at even-par through 14 holes when his tee shot was nearly the same distance from the front of the green -- 236 yards -- as it was last year. This time, Beck went for the pin, and wound up with a birdie. He finished with a 1-under 71.
Fred Funk's recent woes continued yesterday. After missing the cut three weeks ago at Bay Hill, and finished tied for 78th at The Players Championship, the former University of Maryland golf coach shot an opening-round 79.
"I'm playing as bad as I've played in a long time," said Funk, who missed the cut in his first Masters last year with rounds of 73-77. "I'm hitting the ball very unsolid, very short. You just can't play that way."