11 years on, Fraser believes

MARCUS Fraser’s hopes of being at Augusta in April are on hold — a date with the surgeon is likely to cut into the first part of his golfing year.

The former Corowa junior last week went agonisingly close to his first start at the US Masters when he was ranked just outside the world top 50.

But Fraser, back on the Border yesterday for his golf club’s fund-raising weekend — tomorrow and Sunday — says an MRI was likely to confirm he needed a “clean out” on a chronic wrist injury.

The world No. 97 has battled the injury since the British Open.

Cortisone injections have provided temporary relief but Fraser is resigned to surgery and two months out of the game.

He will head to the Middle East for three tournaments in the second half of January before taking a break.

“The hardest part with fixing any injury is trying to pick a time to get these things done,” Fraser said.

“Unless I can do really well in the Middle East and jump up the world rankings, I’m likely to get it done next month.

“But with the likes of Tiger (Woods), Rory (McIlroy) and Henrik Stenson in the fields, there will be big ranking points on offer.

“A couple of good results would give me a shot at the top-50 again.

“If there’s any chance of teeing up at Augusta, I’d get a cortisone shot tomorrow.”

Fraser played three of the four majors last year and was a factor in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai play-off month.

The 35-year-old says he finally feels like he belongs among golf’s elite.

“My first major was the British Open in 2005 and, to be honest, standing on the first tee at St Andrews, I’m not sure how I even made contact, I was that nervous,” he said.

“But once I got that out of the way, you start to work out how to prepare better. I thought I did that this year.

“I played really well in two of the majors, particularly the British Open and the PGA, where I was thereabouts for a long time.

“I’ve been doing this for 11 years and now I feel like I belong at that higher level which is a big thing, I never used to see myself that way.”

Fraser hopes this year will see him take even more advantage of his opportunities.

“Last year was a bit of every- thing — it started off OK, then the middle part of the year was ordinary and yet, come the back half, I had a couple of chances to win tournaments,” he said.

“It still feels like things are moving in the right direction, like I’ve jumped to a new level in the past two years.

“I’m doing a lot of things right — putting myself in a position to win tournaments.”

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