AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) – Dustin Johnson makes it sound easy because he’s good enough that many shots feel that way. He also recognizes that the par-3 sixth hole at Augusta National was the most critical when he won the Masters. Staked to a four-shot lead going into thein November, he three-putted from just off the front of the green on No. 4, and he made another bogey on the next hole by missing from 7 feet. Just like that, his lead was down to one.
Then he headed to No. 6, known as Augusta National as “Juniper.
“Itwo bogeys, but it wasn’t like I made a bad bogey,” he said. “It didn’t bother me. I knew I was swinging well and rolling it well. I just needed to stay patient.”
The pin was on the upper shelf to the right, a slight breeze behind him. Johnson chose 8-iron to 6 feet.
“I just had to judge the distance right,” he said. “I hit a good shot in there and made a perfect putt. That gave me the confidence I needed for the rest of the day. That was a huge hole.”
That’s where Nick Faldo made birdie and began his unlikelyGreg Norman in 1996. It’s where Billy Joe Patton made a hole-in-one with a 5-iron in the final round of 1954 when he was trying to become the first amateur to win a . He missed by one shot, joining a playoff between Ben Hogan and Sam Snead.
For Augusta National’s changes over the years, it hasn’t messed with the par 3s for close to a half-century. The exception was lengthening No. 3.
it can feel like two different holes.
“Those right pins, you sit there saying that 3 is a good score. The left pins, you feel like you should have a good look at Birdie,” he said. “You feel like you’ve lost half a shot-making par to two of the pins, and you’ve gained half a shot on the other two.”
The hole hasn’t always looked that way. It originally had a pond in front of the green. Augusta National had that filled in after the 1959 Masters. The only significant change since then was in 1975 when the teeing.
It ranks as the 13th-toughest hole, the easiest among the par 3s. It doesn’t always feel that way when the pin is on the top right shelf on Sunday, which made Johnson’s shot all the more impressive. Sungjae Im went over the back of the green playing with him in the final group, chipped short of the pin, and missed the par putt, a two-shot swing.
“For every ten good iron shots I’veshelf, I’ve probably only had three or four balls stop on it,” Jim Furyk once said. “It’s probably only about eight yards by seven yards, at the most. Much of that isn’t useable because if you , it will go over. You’re switching to a tiny area, but most guys will take a pop at it.
“If you miss it a little longer, I’d rather have that chip or putt from back there.”
There are worse places to be than long. Branden Grace watched his chipdown the ridge toward his feet on consecutive shots to a 7 in 2016, one of three quadruple bogeys on that hole.
The back left pin is no picnic. The front left hook is the best birdie chance, with the slope feeding balls toward the cup. Matt Kuchar said the safe shot short of the hole would roll back to 40 feet, and he’s happy to take two putts and walk off the green with a par.
“Most of the time, the middle of that green is typical for most pins,40-foot putt,” Kuchar said. “You do your best to just two-putt and get out of there with a 3.”
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