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April 8, 2016

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Virginia junior men’s golfer Derek Bard (New Hartford, N.Y.) finished his play at the 2016 Masters Tournament with a second-round score of 5-over 77. He failed to make the 36-hole cut after posting a two-day total of nine-over 153. He tied for 69th place and posted the third-best score of the six amateurs in the field. Bard missed the cut (6-over, 150) by three strokes.

While disappointed that his driver and putter, usually his most reliable clubs, did not carry him during the week, he took a moment outside of the Augusta National’s clubhouse to sum up his feelings.

“I guess I came up a little short of my goal but it was surreal,” Bard said. “It was really fun. I’m just kind of bummed it’s over.

“I really played well today but it seemed like nothing worked out. I hit a lot of great putts but none of them went in. I hit so many good shots that were just a little too long.”

Bard’s hopes of making the cut and playing two more rounds during the weekend were dashed on Augusta National’s back nine. He made the turn with 27 holes behind him at two-over par and six-over for the tournament.

“I was playing well but the two bogeys were probably just a little bit unlucky,” he said. “I thought I needed a solid good back nine and to shoot maybe one or two under. I got off to a great start and hit it in there within two feet on 10 for birdie. I had a great par on 11.”

Holding honors, he hit first on the famous par-3 12th hole with its small green that is protected in front by Rae’s Creek. The wind dropped just as he struck his eight iron and the ball sailed onto the azalea-packed hill behind the green. He had to punch out from the pine needles, chip on and make a six-foot putt to save bogey.

“We were up first, which was a little different than yesterday when I hit last and I was able to see the other two shots,” said Bard, who was one of six players to birdie the hole during the first round. “I hit a longer club to protect from the water. You can always look on the flag at 11 and check the wind and it was ripping into us. The wind died and I hit too much club. I probably should have hit the nine.”

On the par-5 13th hole, his tee shot made its way into the gallery on the right side of the fairway and he was faced with having to punch a low runner through several pine trees back onto the fairway.

To the delight of a large number of patrons who gathered to watch his effort, Bard pulled it off. He managed par and repeated that score on the 14th hole. Those would be the last pars of his Augusta adventure.

Bard executed two perfects shots on the par-5, 530-yard 15th hole to leave him with a short wedge shot onto the green. His attempt went long and rolled off the backside of the green down a slight incline. His effort to putt from his lie and run the ball down to the pin ended prematurely on the green’s collar. He two-putted to finish out and recorded bogey to go to 7-over par.

Thinking he was in jeopardy of missing the tournament’s cut, Bard decided to go for broke and fire at the pin on the par-3, 170-yard 16th hole in hopes of picking up a birdie.

His tee shot went long and found a bunker.

“I went after that pin on 16 and the wind kind of pushed it too far right,” he said. “I missed it by a yard. On a course like this, in conditions like this … It’s the greatest tournament in the world and one of the toughest courses they play all year, that’s what it comes down to is a matter of yards, and I came down on the wrong side.”

Bard faced a nearly impossible pitch shot back onto a green that sloped away from him towards a small pond.

“At that point I was trying to hole it or hit the pin and barely missed,” he said.

His ball came within an inch of the cup’s edge, but held too much pace and raced across the green, luckily stopping on the front fringe.

He posted his only double bogey during two days of play and knew he was out of contention to advance.

Following a bogey on No. 17, his tournament scorecard read 10-over as he prepared for his final hole.

On 18, he pounded a 276-yard tee shot down the middle of the course’s finishing hole. His approach shot traveled up the fairway’s rise to the green, landed long and then trickled backwards and stopped two feet from the cup. Bard sank his putt and, too quickly, the curtain came down, ending his performance on golf’s greatest stage.

“It is a little tough right now, but it was great,” Bard said after his round. “It was awesome. It was something me, and my entire family, will never forget. For all of us, being here, and all of the support I got back home and in Charlottesville, it was awesome. It is bigger than I ever thought it would be.”

Bard will have another chance to perform at one of golf’s major championships. By virtue of being the runner-up at last summer’s U.S. Amateur Championship, he received a berth into the 2016 U.S. Open in addition to his invitation to the Masters.

This year’s U.S. Open takes place at Oakmont Country Club in Oakmont, Pa.

“I think it will help me a lot when I can get out of here and look back and reflect back on it,” Bard said. “The Open is kind of a different bear than this. It might be even a tougher test.

“I won’t be in so much awe as when I first saw all of these guys on the putting green or the range. That probably won’t bother me as much. I’ll be a little more comfortable in that whole environment after this week.”

Virginia coach Bowen Sargent followed Bard for both rounds during the Masters.

“In a lot of ways it has been magical to see Derek come in as a first year and evolve and get better and play on the biggest stage in the world,” Sargent said. “It is quite a thrill for me as a coach to see him accomplish this. For me, I really enjoyed it. It was a really special two days.”

Masters’ Notes

• The average score of the second round was 75.02.

• Bard finished 36 holes of play ranked No. 39 in driving distance at 274.7 yards. He hit 14 of 28 fairways in regulation and made 17 of 36 greens in regulation.

• Bard’s scrambling abilities were evidenced by the fact he had the ninth-fewest putts (57) over 36 holes of play.

• The par-3 16th hole was the toughest for Bard. He posted bogey and double bogey on the hole that figured as the fifth-toughest on the field during the first two days of play.

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