Augusta, 06 April: The 15th hole has played an important role in the journey of Sergio Garcia. The Spaniard hit the flag in 2017 before making an eagle on his way to victory. Unfortunately though, the same hole became his nightmare under the bright Sun at Augusta National. Garcia hit five balls into the water, taking a record 13 strokes to finally complete the hole.
Garcia’s misadventure eclipses the record of 11, jointly held by Jumbo Ozaki (1987), Ben Crenshaw (1997) and Ignacio Garrido (1998).
13 is also the worst single hole score in the history of this great event. The Spaniard emulated Tommy Nakajima, who needed 13 strokes on the 13th hole in 1978. Tom Weiskopf also took 13, but he did so at the par-3 12th hole in 1980. While Garcia and Nakajima gave away 8 strokes each, Weiskopf has the honour of pipping his rivals since he left the 12th hole poorer by ten strokes.
“It’s the first time in my career where I make a 13 without missing a shot,” said Garcia.
“I kept hitting good shots with the sand wedge and unfortunately, I don’t know why, the ball just wouldn’t stop.”
Interestingly, Garcia played the same hole 4-under last year through the week. The bizarre sequence of events left Garcia needing a birdie at the 16th to just sign on a card of 9-over 81. He is languishing the near the bottom of the leaderboard, tied with Matt Parziale, an amateur.
Sergio’s situation at the 13th, where he cleared the water each time only for the backspin to draw back into the water, drew comparisons with the 1996 movie Tin Cup. The protagonist of that movie, in contention for the title, makes a 12 at the final hole of the US Open getting wet repeatedly.
Only Harry Ellis, another amateur made a worse score on day one of the Masters. The Scot shot 86 to end the day at 14-over par.
Ian Woosnam, another Masters champion made 79, the same score as Kiradech Aphibarnrat. The Thai broke his driver yesterday and played with a new club today. The change wasn’t excuse enough though, as he made eight bogeys for a disappointing start to his Masters. The 28 year tied for 15th in the 2016 edition, but will need a momentous effort on Friday to harbour any chances of staying on for the weekend.
The 2016 winner Danny Willett was lying in T60 after making 75 in the first round. Keeping him company are Matthew Fitzpatrick and Jason Day, both having a poor start on Thursday.