AUGUSTA, GEORGIA – A year after achieving his greatest triumph by winning the Masters, Sergio Garcia partook in a helping of humble pie at Augusta National.
During Thursday’s first round, the 38-year-old Spaniard made a 13 on the par-5 15th hole, hitting five shots that spun back into the pond fronting the green on the way to shooting an opening 81.
“I don’t know what to tell you,” Garcia said. “It’s one of those things. … It’s the first time in my career where I make a 13 without missing a shot. Simple as that. I felt like I hit a lot of good shots and unfortunately the ball just didn’t want to stop.”
Garcia’s problems began when he rinsed his 6-iron second shot from 206 yards.
“I thought it was perfect,” he said. “Straight at the flag. I don’t know, if it carries probably two more feet, it’s probably good. And if it probably carries a foot less, it probably doesn’t go off the green and probably stays on the fringe … but unfortunately I flew it on the perfect spot for it to come back.”
After taking a drop, he subsequently spun his fourth, sixth, eighth and 10th shots off the green and into the drink.
“I kept hitting good shots with the sand wedge and unfortunately, I don’t know why, the ball just wouldn’t stop,” he said.
After his 12th shot finally held the green, he made a 6-footer for an ungainly octuple bogey, taking him from 2-over par to 10 over for the day. He subsequently made a birdie at the par-3 16th and two closing pars.
WATCH: Here are four of Sergio’s shots into the water at 15.
“Obviously I shot 81, which is not great,” he said. “And, I mean, I was fighting hard, I was doing quite well, obviously had a good possibility on 13 to get back to even and kind of keep my round going after not having a great start and unfortunately we didn’t hit the right club there and hit a great shot and left myself no putt. Then I hit a pretty good birdie putt and unfortunately it lipped out. And then the bogey on the next and then obviously the rest is history.”
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With his 13, Garcia achieved the ignominious distinction of equaling the highest score on any hole in Masters history, joining Tommy Nakajima, who made 13 on the par-5 13th in 1978, and Tom Weiskopf, who carded the same score on the par-3 12th in 1980. He also posted the worst score ever recorded on No. 15 by two strokes. Jumbo Ozaki (1987), Ben Crenshaw (1997) and Ignacio Garrido (1998) shared the previous high score of 11.