by Mark Hayes on Pebble Beach
If they announced major championships for sincerity, Aussie Marcus Fraser would have passed Jack Nicklaus long ago.
Fraser wasn't even on his way to gloom in his opening two-more than 73 on Pebble Beach today.
But to have heard his assessment after the game, you would have sworn that he had broken 100.
In fact, a bad break on the par-three 17th bar – when his tee shot nestled against the rear bangs and his shot options limited on the way to a bogey – and a three-putt on the last, he would have been in the mix on even par.
But that was far from satisfactory for the Corowa veteran, who by his own recognition is now a part-time touring professional.
"I was still driving the ball like crap. That used to be one of my biggest strengths. Now I shit myself on every tee," said the winner of the multiple European Tour.
"I clambered most of the day and earned quite a few good par-saves. And there were a few good holes where I made birdies.
"But 75 percent is not good enough. It's frustrating. Because I played (better than) 16 years.
"I turned a few weak ones to the right. It's getting better and better, but it's still not good enough – especially on a job like this (because) when you feel it rough, all you can do is cut it out.
"There is no chance to run him forward. It's just frustrating. There are some good things there, but way too much mess."
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Asked if his long irons, which had been a feature of his four birdies, would be an alternative, Fraser was equally frank in his self-assessment.
"I feel that I have to tackle it. You have to solve the problem.
"I always fight that shot, then I send it in the game.
"And if you do that from the tee in a major, you don't have a chance. The good ones are OK, but I'm losing distance from the others. That's not good enough to play at this level, that's for sure."
Fraser started with great sand in fighting style except for the first, but soon gave shots in second and third place after wildly roaming rides.
Birdies at four and six had him back to the square and when he had only had 10 official & # 39; putts through eight holes, it looked bright.
But he returned that laboriously won edge with bogeys about the twin problems that the ninth and tenth gifts for the shorter hatters of the field, of which Fraser is one.
Again he returned to the square with quality birdies on the 14th and 15th holes after another major par except on the 13th.
But that run ended with his bad break at 17.
"I've always been realistic about where things are (with my game). And now I just don't play enough to expect much," he said.
"I did a lot of practice, but I still stand on tees that make fairly ordinary shots.
"I am hard for myself, but I want to do well.
"I am a competitor. I don't like to play like that, but I seem to do it every time right now.
"That is probably why I am climbing so well. I have to trust it.
"I wish I could stand there and just hit. It would be nice to have a stress-free round of golf."
If all interviewees were just as brutally frank.