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Posted April 8, 2016, 4:25 pm
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Few challenge 18-hole record set by Nick Price

Few have challenged 9-under mark set by Price in 1986
  • Article Photos
    Few challenge 18-hole record set by Nick Price
    Photos description
    Jordan Spieth briefly challenged the Masters' single-round scoring record of 9-under during last year's tournament. He reached 8-under in the first round with a birdie on No. 14, but then he bogeyed the 15th. A closing birdie took him back to 8-under, and he would tie the 72-hole low.
  • Article Photos
    Few challenge 18-hole record set by Nick Price
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    Lloyd Mangrum's round of 64 to start off the 1940 Masters went unmatched for 25 years. He finished in second.
  • Article Photos
    Few challenge 18-hole record set by Nick Price
    Photos description
    Even with a missed birdie putt on No. 18, Nick Price set the Masters scoring record of 63 in 1986.
  • Article Photos
    Few challenge 18-hole record set by Nick Price
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    Greg Norman tied Price's mark in the opening round in 1996, with birdies on six of the final nine.
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    Few challenge 18-hole record set by Nick Price
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    Demaret
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    Few challenge 18-hole record set by Nick Price
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    Faldo
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    Few challenge 18-hole record set by Nick Price
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    Mickelson

 

Saturday is moving day at the Masters. Expect plenty of birdies and eagles as players go all out to get in position to win a green jacket Sunday.

Low scores and excitement have been synonymous with the Masters for years, but only 15 players have shot 64 or better in competition.

The most recent player to do so is Jordan Spieth. The Texan was 8-under through 14 holes in his opening round last year, but he made a bogey at the par-5 15th and settled for 64.

“It’s one of the better rounds I’ve ever played,” said Spieth, who would match the tournament’s 72-hole scoring record in his victory.

Nick Price and Greg Norman share the Augusta National course record of 9-under 63. Thirty years ago, Price set the record using a wooden driver and laying up on all the par-5 holes. His birdie putt on the 18th hole rimmed the cup, and he had to settle for 63.

“They were asking what happened on that 18th hole, and I came up with this line,” Price said: “I think Bobby Jones’ hand came up and popped it out the hole. And said, ‘That’s enough.’”

Price was an unlikely candidate to set the record at Augusta Na­tional because he was not a long hitter.

He barely made the cut in 1986, then promptly bogeyed the first hole. From then on, Price said, he “probably had the best 17 holes of putting I’ve ever had.”

Price said his score could have been even lower.

“What I suppose I remember the best was walking up the 14th hole, and I think at this stage I was 7-under, and saying to my caddie, ‘Do you know what the course record is?’ And he nodded at me and said, ‘Yeah,’” Price said. “And I said ‘Let’s do it.’ I birdied 15 and 16. I had a lip-out on 18 but had a really good putt that I ran over the top edge on 17. It could have been just about anything.”

Norman matched Price’s record in the first round of 1996.

He started off slowly with pars on his first six holes. Then he birdied Nos. 7-9 to make the turn in 33. The Great White Shark then turned it up a notch.

“It was just indicative of my style of play,” Norman said. “I loved to be aggressive when I felt I was on.”

On the final nine, he birdied Nos. 12-15. He added another at the 17th and had his final birdie at the 18th to match Price’s score.

Despite technological advances in golf clubs and balls in the two decades since Norman’s 63, only three players have threatened to match or better the record: Spieth, Bo Van Pelt (2012) and Jason Day (2011).

Price laid up on all four of the par-5s, but he used his pinpoint iron play to make 10 birdies.

“One of the things I’m most proud of is that I did it with a wooden driver,” Price said. “That’s not to take anything away from Greg’s 63, but I think he shot his in ’96, 10 years later, so technology in drivers had changed considerably. I’d like to think there would be an asterisk on mine for using medieval clubs.”

Low scores have not always translated into a green jacket. Only Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Spieth went on to win.

Nicklaus fired his 64 in the third round on his way to a record-setting victory in 1965. Player’s 64 came in the final round of his 1978 win.

“The big thing is I would trade that round for a green jacket in a heartbeat,” Price said. “It’s always nice to have a course record at a very nice golf course and a major championship, but in hindsight it’s not something that’s going to enhance my career. I still look at it as a tongue-in-cheek, it was an achievement, but certainly not like winning it.”

THE FIRST 64

How good was Lloyd Mangrum’s 64 in the opening round in 1940?

It bettered by two shots the lowest score recorded in competition at Augusta National, and it took 25 years for anyone to match it.

Mangrum made four birdies to make the turn in 32 in wet conditions, but he suffered his lone bogey at the 10th. He bounced back with birdies at Nos. 12, 13, 15, 17 and 18, the latter a 25-footer.

Golf writer O.B. Keeler described Mangrum’s round, and his finish of 3-3-3, as “the hottest round ever played in big league competition.”

 

The Course Changes

 
Augusta National and Masters Chairman Hootie Johnson oversaw sweeping changes at Augusta National as nine holes were altered for the 2002 Masters.
 
The nine holes – Nos. 1, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14 and 18 – were all lengthened, stretching the course 285 yards. Tees on Nos. 8, 10, 11 and 18 were shifted slightly, and bunkers on Nos. 1, 8 and 18 were enlarged.
 
A stand of 30 to 40 trees was added to the right of the ninth fairway, and six trees were planted near the bunker complex on the 18th hole.
 
For 2006, an additional 155 yards of length was added as changes were made to six holes.
 
The length of the first hole was reduced 10 yards in 2009, and the course now measures 7,435 yards.
 
 
On This Date
 
1950
 
Jimmy Demaret shot 69 to become the tourna­ment’s first three-time champion.
 
1967
 
Gay Brewer closed with 67 to win by one stroke over Bobby Nichols.
 
1972
 
Jack Nicklaus completed a wire-to-wire victory and joined Arnold Palmer as the tourna­ment’s only four-time champions.
 
1973
 
Georgia native Tommy Aaron fired a final-round 68 to claim victory.
 
1978
 
Gary Player birdied seven of the final 10 holes to shoot 64 and capture his third Masters victory.
 
1989
 
Nick Faldo shot 65 to force a playoff, then beat Scott Hoch on the second hole of sudden death.
 
1995
 
Ben Crenshaw paid tribute to mentor Harvey Penick, who had recently died, with a final-round 68.
 
2000
 
Vijay Singh fired 69 to defeat Ernie Els by three strokes.
 
2006
 
Phil Mickelson added a second green jacket as he shot 69 to hold off Tim Clark by two shots.