Dif­fi­cult fifth hole gets a lit­tle longer, tougher

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Golf - BY DOUG FER­GU­SON

Tucked away on the far end of Au­gusta Na­tional is the tough­est par 4 on the front nine.

For this Masters, it has be­come a lit­tle tougher.

The fifth hole, a slight dog­leg to the left, was un­touched for 30 years un­til the club ex­tended the two bunkers left of the fair­way some 80 yards to­ward the green to bring them into play. Fif­teen years later, the cham­pi­onship tee was moved back some 40 yards, stretch­ing the par 4 to 495 yards for this year’s Masters.

“Sig­nif­i­cantly dif­fer­ent,” Brandt Snedeker said with just enough of a smile that “dif­fer­ent” did not mean it was any eas­ier. “It used to be a 3wood for the long guys, then a short- to mid-iron. It was a par hole. You might make a few birdies. You’re not mak­ing a huge num­ber there. But you’re hit­ting a lot longer clubs in. And that’s go­ing to be a lit­tle dif­fer­ent.”

For years, No. 5 got plenty of re­spect and not enough at­ten­tion.

The re­spect was un­der­stand­able. The scor­ing av­er­age over the years of 4.26 was the high­est of par 4s be­fore mak­ing the turn.

“Make four pars there and you’re gain­ing two shots on the field,” Jor­dan Spi­eth said.

The lack of at­ten­tion is all about lo­ca­tion, the hole be­ing some­what iso­lated. For the well-con­nected, it’s the quick­est way to get to Ber­ck­mans Place, the high-end hospi­tal­ity area at the Masters. For oth­ers, it was a route to the par-3 sixth hole.

And for Jack Nick­laus, it was an­other oc­ca­sion to get his name in the Masters record book. Fac­ing two of the more dif­fi­cult pin po­si­tions, Nick­laus holed out for ea­gle twice – in the same tour­na­ment in 1995.

Alis­ter Macken­zie and Bobby Jones pat­terned the hole af­ter No. 17 at St. An­drews, the fa­mous Road Hole, even though “Mag­no­lia” has no road be­hind the green or any bunker in front of the green.

ROB CARR AP file

Chad Camp­bell hits out of a bunker at the fifth hole dur­ing the Masters in 2009. The par 4 hole has been length­ened 40 yards to 495 yards.

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