Imperfect ‘10’ for Els on first hole at Masters

Brant Sanderlin
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Imperfect ‘10’ for Els on first hole at Masters

Brant Sanderlin
Ernie Els starts his round at 6-over after the first hole at the Augusta National Golf Club, Thursday, April 7, 2016. (Brant Sanderlin/bsanderlin@ajc.com)

- No one can win a golf tournament on the first hole, but World Golf Hall of Famer Ernie Els showed everyone how to put yourself in an almost impossible position after only one hole, taking seven putts for a 10 on Thursday in the first round of the 80th Masters.

All but one putt was within 2 feet. One from 11 inches resulted in a miss that left him 4 feet for his next. He also had a one-handed swat that missed.

There have been four players in tourney history who have scored an “8” on the first hole, one that played among the top three most difficult holes of the day through 3 p.m., including Olin Browne and Scott Simpson in 1998, Billy Casper in 2001 and Jeev Milka Singh in 2007.

Els’ 10 isn’t close to the worst Masters hole score in competition. Tom Weiskopf once made “13” at the par-3 12th in 1980 and Tommy Nakajima matched that at the par-5 13th in 1998.

In 74 previous Masters’ rounds on the first hole, Els had never scored worse than a double-bogey “6” once, while making seven birdies, 56 pars and 10 bogeys. And he previously had only one hole with worse than a double bogey in his 21 previous Masters.

Els has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and four majors, two British Opens and two U.S. Opens.

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