THREE players who had the chance to win the Masters have the opportunity to instantly put last week’s heartache behind them when they return to action in the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head this week.
Jason Day, Marc Leishman and Brandt Snedeker were all in contention on a dramatic final day at Augusta, with Day coming closest to a first major title.
The 25-year-old Australian briefly held a two-shot lead when he birdied the 15th, but bogeyed the next two holes and finished two shots out of the play-off won by compatriot Adam Scott.
Day was also joint-second at Augusta in 2011 and finished joint-ninth at Harbour Town two weeks later, when Snedeker won the title in a play-off.
Snedeker shared the lead with Day and Angel Cabrera early in the final round on Sunday only for his usually brilliant putting to let him down on the back nine, while Leishman was in contention until a costly bogey on the par-5 15th saw him finish joint-fourth alongside Tiger Woods.
Also in the field is England’s Brian Davis, who called a penalty on himself during a sudden-death play-off with Jim Furyk at the event in 2010. Davis, still searching for his first PGA Tour title, had forced the play-off with a 72nd-hole birdie to pull level.
Meanwhile, Monday’s bombings at the Boston Marathon hit close to home for one player in the field, James Driscoll, a Boston native.
Driscoll splits his time between his home town and Florida and has an apartment two blocks from where the explosions took place. On Monday, he was on his way to the airport to travel to South Carolina when he received numerous text messages from concerned friends and family.
He had been invited to a party at a restaurant near the finish line and two of his friends were caught between the two blasts when they went off.
“I had probably 50 friends at a party at the finish line,” Driscoll told pgatour.com. “When the first one went off, one of my friends said she didn’t know what the heck it was. When the second one went off, she grabbed her friend’s hand and started running toward the south end.
“When stuff like this happens around the country, you realise how tragic it is.
“But when it happens that close to home, it’s a different level of fear and anger and emotions.
“My friend just happened to stop to talk to a friend [before the first bomb went off]. If she hadn’t stopped, she would’ve been right there.
“It’s just scary to think people are out there running around doing stuff like that and it could get worse before it gets better.”