Watabu ready for his close-up

Kapa‘a’s Casey Watabu is ready for his big debut.

He was getting some last minute grooming on the night before his debut at Augusta National for the Masters Tournament.

“I was shaving my head. That’s my style,” said the 24-year-old University of Nevada graduate.

But Watabu said playing at the 7,445-yard, par 72 course wasn’t all that hard.

“I don’t know that it’s the hardest course I’ve ever played. It’s definitely one of the toughest though.”

Watabu had two practice rounds on the course earlier this week. On Monday he played with long-time Masters golfer Gary Player. Then on Tuesday, he met up with 2003 Masters winner Mike Weir and fellow Hawai‘i golfer Dean Wilson.

“We played a practice round together and it was fun for the both of us, us two local guys,” Watabu said. “Hopefully it won’t be our last.”

Watabu wants to take it all in stride. He admitted that playing in front of a crowd of approximately 40,000 people was definitely different from what he was used to.

“Monday was my first experience with the crowds and I was a little nervous,” he said. “But once you get into your zone and tune them all out it’s fine.”

Watabu plans on parring at every hole.

“If you can call that a strategy, that’s what I plan on doing. I’ll take the birdies when they come,” he said.

He actually thinks he and the other amateurs playing in the tournament face less pressure than the professionals do.

“We have nothing to lose. They’re not expecting us to play well,” he said. “It’s all about living in the moment. I’m not nervous, I’m more anxious. I feel confident going in. I know where to be and where not to be.”

Watabu teed off early this morning with two-time Masters winner Tom Watson and 2007 Champions Tour at Turtle Bay winner Fred Funk.

He tees off tomorrow with Watson and Funk at around 12:35 p.m.


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