Sergio Garcia puts five balls in water, shoots record-setting 13 on No. 15
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Sergio Garcia made the worst score at the 15th hole in the history of the Masters, taking an 8-over-par 13 on Thursday that included five balls in the water that fronts the green.
The defending Masters champion shot 81, mostly due to his misfortune at the hole that was the site of his heroics a year ago, an eagle 3 on the final day that helped him get into a sudden-death playoff that he won over Justin Rose.
At 1 over par for his round, Garcia was looking at the par-5 hole as a chance to get back to even and keep himself in contention for a second green jacket.
Instead, his 6-iron second shot from 206 yards landed on the green but spun off the putting surface and down the severe slope that fronts it and into the water.
From there, Garcia went to the drop area where he hit four more wedge shots that came back into the water, finally getting a fifth attempt on the green and 1-putting for a 13.
"I don't know what to tell you,'' he 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 stop. It's one of those things. It's just unfortunate, but that's what it is.''
It started with Garcia in the fairway. He hit a 6-iron, and "I thought it was perfect; straight at the flag,'' he said. "If it carries probably 2 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.
"And then I kept hitting good shots with the sand wedge, and unfortunately -- I don't know why -- the ball just wouldn't stop."
It was a moment reminiscent of the movie "Tin Cup," in which Kevin Costner's character, Roy McAvoy, repeatedly hits the same shot into the water.
The 13 was the highest score ever on any hole at the tournament, tying a Masters record set by Tommy Nakajima, who shot a 13 on the 13th hole in 1978, and Tom Weiskopf, who matched it on the 12th hole in 1980.
Last year, on his way to victory, Garcia hit the flagstick with his second shot to the 15th during the final round and made the eagle putt. He birdied it during the second and third rounds and played the hole 4 under par.
Playing as the second-easiest hole of the day, Garcia's 13 was one of just four scores of double-bogey or worse with several groups still on the course.
The pin position at the 15th was somewhat precarious on Thursday, just seven paces on the front right of the green. Garcia was not using that as an excuse.
"It's not the first time it's been there, so it's not new,'' he said. "But with the firmness of the greens and everything, I felt like the ball was going to stop, and unfortunately for whatever reason, it didn't want to.''
Garcia finished the day tied for 85th and beat just one player, amateur Harris Ellis.