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Posted April 11, 2019, 10:18 pm
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No. 18 toughest hole in Masters opening round

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    Corey Conners lines up a putt on No. 18 during the first round. [ANDREW DAVIS TUCKER/FOR THE AUGUSTA CHRONICLE]

The 18th hole at Augusta National played the most difficult Thursday in the Masters Tournament opening round.

The 465-yard par 4, known as “Holly,” featured the most double-bogeys with four and the second fewest birdies with five. The hole had a scoring average of 4.356.

Two-time Masters champion Jose Maria Olazabal closed his round with a bogey at the hole and shared his thoughts on why it was playing so difficult.

“I mean the hole is just long,” the Spaniard said. “It’s very demanding off the tee. The green is elevated. You don’t have much room to work with. That’s the reason why it’s not an easy hole.”

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The pin location Thursday was placed on the back left side of the green. It is defended by a large mound in the middle sloping downhill. 

“It’s the pin placement,” Stewart Cink said regarding why the hole was challenging. “It’s all pin placement. It’s not into the wind. In fact the wind helped a little bit off the tee. The greens are starting to firm up and it’s a very small place to hit back there.”

Bernhard Langer, who won the Masters in 1985 and 1993, prompted a roar from the gallery on No. 18 after sinking a 39-foot par putt from off the green.

Langer said what made the hole so troubling for him was the tee shot. He recounted how the hole became a nightmare before escaping with a par.

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“I just had a horrible break,” Langer said. “I pulled my tee shot a little bit then hit a branch on the left and it went 40 yards into the trees behind the fence. I’ve never been in there. I didn’t even know anything was over there.

"Then it went in the mud where the people were walking on the side of the fairway ... then I had 250 yards to the hole. I hit 3-wood and got it up to about 30 feet away from the pin. Made an amazing putt for par.”