Matt Kuchar found success on No. 7 Friday, but others weren’t as fortunate on a hole that played tougher than normal in the second round.
The seventh hole ranked as the third-toughest at Augusta National Golf Club on Day 2, yielding just six birdies to go with 40 bogeys, 17 more than Thursday. It tied for third-fewest birdies on the course.
Golfers were forced to go for a tough pin tucked in the back right, guarded by bunkers in front and behind. A well-placed approach shot on the right side left reasonable putts, but approaches that missed left turned into difficult two-putts for par.
“If you see anybody put the ball on the left side of the green like I did today, you’re not going to get the first putt inside five or six feet,” said Jim Furyk, who lagged a 64-foot putt to 7 feet but putted twice more for bogey.
Kuchar was one of the six to birdie the hole Friday, accomplished by sticking his approach to 7 feet. He agreed it was a tough pin and acknowledged his ability to fade the ball helped shape his approach toward the back-right portion of the green.
“I was able to get one moving just a little bit from center of the green toward the hole a little bit,” Kuchar said. “I had a pretty straightforward 10- to 12-footer. I got lucky with having the perfect distance and the right shot shape.”
Tiger Woods also made birdie on the hole, draining an uphill 27-foot putt.
Furyk said the green has a bowl in front of Friday’s pin that left straight, uphill putts for those who succeeded in keeping it on that side. The problem began with only 41 percent of golfers hitting the green in two on the par-4, compared with 65 percent Thursday.
Being in the proper place on the fairway is also key. It’s one of the narrower fairways on the course, and golfers have a clearer shot to the pin from the left side. Right-side approach shots can require a harder fade around pine trees.
“Driving the fairway there is a tough thing to accomplish to begin with,” Kuchar said.
The result was the hole averaging 4.37 compared with 4.2 Thursday. It’s currently ranked as the third-toughest hole entering the weekend after ranking fifth last year at 4.25.