Holes-in-one part of Masters drama
The most exciting shot in golf is one that is holed from the fairway or the tee.
While double eagles have been rare at the Masters – only four have been recorded – the tournament has been blessed with an abundance of holes-in-one. Twenty-four have been made in Masters play.
The first ace came in the inaugural Augusta National Invitation Tournament. In recent years, holes-in-one have been more prevalent as 10 have been made since 2004.
Of Augusta National’s four par-3s, the 16th hole has been aced the most with 15 different players achieving the feat. In 2004, Padraig Harrington and Kirk Triplett made holes-in-one while playing in consecutive groups at the 16th.
A year later, Trevor Immelman made a hole-in-one in the 16th.
“I was in the second-to-last group, so obviously there was a lot of pressure and a lot of people there,” said Immelman, who finished tied for fifth. “For that shot to go in, it was like a dream come true. It’s something I’ll never forget.”
The fourth hole, which now measures up to 240 yards, has been aced only once. Jeff Sluman did it in 1992 at a distance of 213 yards.
“That’s probably the last time I hit that green in regulation,” said Sluman, who made his ace well before the hole was lengthened. “It’s such a difficult golf hole. The wind’s blowing everywhere. You make three there, you’re walking to the next tee happy.”
The sixth hole has been the scene for five holes-in-one during Masters play, and perhaps the one Billy Joe Patton made in 1954 is the most famous in tournament history.
Patton, an amateur, was battling Sam Snead and Ben Hogan when he aced the par-3 sixth hole with a 5-iron.
“Hogan’s gallery was coming up the third fairway, and they came over in droves,” Patton said. “There was more applause to get the ball out of the hole than when it went in.”
Patton wound up third that year, one shot out of the playoff that Snead won over Hogan.
The par-3 12th, one of the most famous holes in golf and the heart of Amen Corner, has yielded three aces in tournament play.
It has also generated the most interesting reactions.
Claude Harmon was the first to make an ace on the 12th during the Masters. But his playing partner, Ben Hogan, didn’t seem to notice the unusual feat. The stoic Hogan had made a birdie of his own at No. 12.
According to Don Wade’s book Talking On Tour, the exchange went like this:
Hogan: “You know Claude, I can’t remember the last time I made a two there. What did you make?”
Harmon: “Why, Ben, I made an ace.”
Hogan: “Oh, well, that’s great, Claude.”
Then there’s Curtis Strange, who made his hole-in-one on the 12th in 1988. After retrieving his ball from the cup, Strange turned and threw it into Rae’s Creek.
On This Date:
The Hogan and Nelson bridges spanning Rae’s Creek weren’t damaged, but the Byron Nelson plaque at the 13th tee was torn from its footings.
The club repaired the damage and had the course playable by Thanksgiving Day, about six weeks after the flood.
Augusta National took measures to do its best to mitigate future flooding. In 1999, the 11th green was raised two feet and the pond guarding the green was raised a foot. Rae’s Creek was widened that year behind the green, and a dam now controls the water and is covered by a wooden structure.