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Lee navigates rocky Masters run-in

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 6/04/2016

Danny Lee. © Rick Scuteri / AP Photo Danny Lee. It's been seven years since Danny Lee's first and only Masters at Augusta National, and he hasn't had the easiest of run-ins leading into this year's edition of the prestigious tournament.

Lee will tee off early on Friday morning (NZT) alongside 30-year-old Scotsman Russell Knox and Smylie Kaufman, a 24-year-old American in his first full season on the PGA Tour.

The 25-year-old New Zealander will be approaching his second Masters since 2009 with a new caddie after parting ways with long-time Canadian bagman Kurt Kowaluk.

Kowaluk has been replaced by Michael Hartford, a former caddie for John Daly and Tommy Armour.

Hartford's experience of Augusta's lightning-fast greens will be crucial for Lee as he looks to back up a breakthrough season last year which included his maiden PGA title and saw his world ranking rise to an all-time high of 36th.

An injury to his left wrist in recent weeks has also hampered Lee's build-up to the Masters.

After withdrawing from the Valspar Championship halfway through his final round in mid-March, 38th-ranked Lee missed the cut at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Florida the following week.

He went on to halve just one of three matches at the World Golf Championships match play in Texas in late March.

A former US amateur champion, Lee is the first New Zealander to qualify for the Masters since Michael Campbell in 2010.

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