Wind at Augusta taketh, then takes some more

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Source:   —  April 10, 2016, at 2:07 AM

His second shot Saturday on No. fifteen at the Masters came to rest ten paces onto the green. He marked the ball, keep it back down and took his time sizing up the putt.

Wind at Augusta taketh, then takes some more

Billy Horschel felt blown away.

His second shot Saturday on No. fifteen at the Masters came to rest ten paces onto the green. He marked the ball, keep it back down and took his time sizing up the putt. Suddenly, a gust of wind kicked up. The ball rolled down a slope, off the misleading front and plunked back into the pond.

"I didn't have my scuba gear," he said.

A windbreaker would've worked better.

Five minutes, one penalty shot and one animated discussion later, what could've been an eagle wound up as a bogey for Horschel. It was all par for the course on a day when gusts reaching thirty miles per hour were the only things roaring through the well-known Georgia pines.

"I did a really excellent work of maintaining some composure," said Horschel, who made headlines by ripping the USGA about greens at Chambers Bay at latest year'south U. S. Open. "It wasn't their fault. They can't do anything about it."

The players felt beautiful helpless, too.

Long before Horschel'south debacle, Justin Thomas took the putter back for a seven-foot tester to rescue par on No. 7. A gust of wind picked up just after he hit it. A few seconds later, he was standing behind the comebacker — forty feet far on the opposite side of the hole.

"Every shot is just guessing and hitting and praying," said Kevin Kisner, who played alongside Thomas.

Louis Oosthuizen was one of the few who handled the wind, shooting 71.

"Probably feels love a sixty-six," said Oosthuizen, the two thousand twelve runner-up.

Oosthuizen said he was aiming-left edge putts exterior the right of the cup to compensate for a north-northwest wind that blew steadily in the twenty miles per hour range most of the day.

Patrick Reed played two times as much crack as he normally would — and made his 8-foot birdie putt on No. thirteen. That didn't prevent a 3-over seventy-five, a decent score in these conditions.

How horrible was the wind?

"It'south the first time I've ever stepped up here on twelfth and the wind felt the same as the rest of the golf course," Reed said of the par-3, in the heart of Amen Corner, where wacky winds are the norm.

They're just as vexing on the tee box of the par-3 fourth — a 240-yard hole set on the W side of the golf course that'south a monster on a peaceful day. There was a steady right-to-left wind that fooled players into aiming at the green, only to look the ball balloon skyward and arrive up short, or left, or both.

Playing in the final group, Jordan Spieth clanged his tee shot off the metal in the stands to the left of the green. Not to be outdone, Rory McIlroy followed by pinballing his shot off nearly the same spot.

"I hit a 3-wood onto No. four and it caught a gust and ended up brief of the bunker," said Larry Mize, the one thousand nine hundred eighty-seven champion. "Not much you can do out there."

The 57-year-old Mize opened the day with three straight birdies. He wound up with a seventy-eight and said he couldn't recollect a three-day stretch at Augusta where the winds had been so consistently steady. Saturday was the worst.

The toughest portion of the course?

"The first eighteen holes, I think," Mize said.

Horschel wasn't laughing. He said his arm-waving discussion with rules executive on the fifteenth green wasn't anything too bad — mostly about the tournament'south success in getting the course "on a fine line," particularly considering the winds.

"It'south on a fine line but it'south fair," said Horschel, whose seventy-three could've been a shot or more better. "An unfortunate situation, horrible luck. But I think the golfing gods — I think they owe me one."

Not only him.

Playing his first Masters, Kisner opened the third circular with two birdies over the first six holes. He wound up shooting seventy-six, and compared these to British Open conditions, "but on a golf course you don't wish to play in those conditions."

What to do after a day love that?

"You go residence and have a beer, sit on the sofa and laugh at everyone else," he said.

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