Quizzed if he would’ve taken his tied-27th finish last year if offered it on the Tuesday before the tournament, Séamus Power was unequivocal in his response.
“Probably not. I had higher hopes,” he said.
“It’s one of those weeks. It’s golf, and sometimes it’s not quite your week, and the putts don’t quite drop, and that’s kind of how it was this week.”
It shows just how far Power’s star has risen in recent years that a mid-field finish at a venue known for punishing debutants did little to appease his growing appetite for success in the game.
Power’s place in the field last year came right down to the wire. The stress around the March 28th cut-off date was hardly ideal preparation but this time around he arrives free from uncertainty thanks to a second PGA Tour victory at the Butterfield Bermuda Championship.
Now firmly established as a top-50 player, the next step in Power’s development will be contending in majors, and he won’t be taking a backwards step armed with healthy course knowledge following his first foray into azalea infested fairways.
“You really realise that you just have to hit very, very good shots,” Power says of Augusta’s challenges.
“A lot of things you kind of know. People tell you little things, like 12 has got to be this very exact shot. Coming in you’re like, ‘it can’t be that exact?’, but then you really do see it.
“It’s just a tough hole. It’s just so shallow. I said to Simon [Keelan – caddie], all four of my shots mid-air I probably would have taken. I thought I hit four pretty good shots, and then I made three bogeys.
“You are hitting reasonably good shots, and they’re ending up in tough spots. That’s why whoever is going to win around here is going to be the best player, which is all you can ask for from a course really.”
As for his chances this week, Power wasn’t shying away from the challenge; determined to enter that famous conversation between Augusta contenders come the back nine on Sunday.
“Game feels in a really good spot, so going to be a lot of preparation the next couple days and just try to give myself a chance going into Sunday,” he says. “I think that is what everyone is going to try to do, you know, on the back nine Sunday.
“Being in one of the last groups going into Sunday really give yourself a chance and see what happens.”
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