AUGUSTA, April 4: Severe thunderstorms shortened the first official practice session for the 81st Masters, but the outlook brightened for Australia�s Jason Day ahead of the year�s first major.
World number three Day played nine holes at Augusta National, his fourth consecutive day on the fabled course, before it was closed in the early afternoon when the area fell under a tornado warning.
Day withdrew from the World Golf Championships Match-Play event two weeks ago to be with his mother, Dening, as she faced cancer surgery. Her uncertain prognosis through chemotherapy kept his status in doubt for the Masters.
But Day said on Monday that his mother is improving and she might even be at the course on the weekend to watch him compete for the green jacket.
�She�s good,� Day said. �She had the left quarter of her lung taken out... I was with her pretty much every day back home. She is in a fair amount of pain but hopefully things are looking up.�
A severe thunderstorm closed the course for more than an hour and forced evacuation of the course even before the tornado warning shut down the course for the remainder of the day.
Heavy rains and strong thunderstorms are expected again on Wednesday on the eve of the opening round, which could soften the greens and lead to more showers for early starters on Thursday.
After that, the forecast is for dry conditions at Augusta National, where weather has not suspended play since the third round in 2008 and not postponed a round since the opening round in 2003.
Even if greens and fairways are more receptive, it�s likely the lightning-fast trademark putting surfaces will be back at full speed for Sunday�s final round. � AFP