As it often does Sunday at the Masters Tournament, No. 11 showed its teeth.
The hole has become one of the most difficult at Augusta National Golf Club each year, so much that the par-4 is now ranked second-toughest all-time at a 4.3 average. It’s been the toughest over four rounds the past three years, including averaging 4.52 in 2016.
The hole took it to a unique level Sunday. The field logged 23 bogeys at No. 11, the most for a final round on the hole since 1956, when the field carded 30 bogeys on its way to the highest scoring average on the hole in tournament history at 4.644. While it was much lower this year at 4.373 – ranking second behind No. 1 for most difficult – it didn’t let up on Sunday.
Charl Schwartzel, the 2011 Masters champion, birdied No. 11 on Sunday by knocking his approach to 10 feet and sinking the putt for one of only five birdies on the day at the hole. He attributed the difference in distances over the course of the week for the difficulty.
“Myself and Adam (Scott) were talking about it,” Schwartzel said. “We don’t know any golf course that the distances can vary so much like this golf course. You get here on Monday and you’re hitting driver, 5-irons. The temperature picks up and the fairway gets quicker, and I had 150 to the back flag with a wedge.
“There’s no golf course that we get these 70-, 80-yard differences. That’s where experience helps us here.”
William McGirt had one of the other birdies Sunday. He had a longer approach than Schwartzel but bravely left it between the hole and water at 15 feet away, and he calmly rolled in the putt to play the hole 1-under for the tournament.
“You’re never counting on (birdie at) 11, especially with a back pin,” McGirt said. “I had a perfect number and hit a good shot in there. I tell you what, I’m glad the hole got in the way because that putt was moving. I’ve never seen a putt move that fast uphill. But it went right in the middle.”
Adding to the difficulty Sunday was the back pin location, which put both the water on the left and the bunker on the right even more in play. The nine bunker shots in the final round equaled the combined total from the first three days, and only three turned into par.
A par-4 listed at 505 yards with danger at all angles will typically be considered a difficult hole, but No. 11 is turning into a monster with each year at Augusta National.
“It’s definitely a tough hole,” Schwartzel said.
Reach David Lee at (706) 823-3216 or firstname.lastname@example.org.