Jack Nicklaus did it again Saturday.
For the second time in three days, Nicklaus had an eagle-2 on the 435-yard fifth hole at Augusta National - the first time a player has eagled the same hole twice in the tournament.
“It was 163 yards,” Nicklaus said. “It was a 7-iron.”
Unlike Thursday, when his 5-iron carried 180 yards into the hole on the fly, this time his ball landed about 6 feet short and rolled into the cup.
It was the sixth eagle in tournament history on No. 5.
“I’m amazed that there were four others,” said Nicklaus, who dropped his club and grabbed his head for several seconds in disbelief after the ball disappeared. “That’s the toughest par-4 on the course.”
Art Wall made the first one in the first round in 1974, Scott Hoch had one in the final round in 1983 and Curtis Strange and Greg Norman each eagled the fifth in the second round in 1987.
Only one other player has had two eagles on a par-4 in the same Masters. Brett Ogle did it in 1993 on the 360-yard No. 3 in the first round and on the 405-yard No. 14 in the third.
Despite the eagle, Nicklaus wasn’t pleased with his play. He finished with a 70 for 215.
“Let’s just say I didn’t play very well,” Nicklaus said. “I hit it all over the place, pulled everything, including a 7-iron.”
If Nicklaus didn’t have a lot of fun, Danny Yates did. Yates, a former Mid-Amateur champion and U.S. Amateur runner-up, has played as a marker eight times in the Masters, but never with Nicklaus - until Saturday.
“I just talked to (former U.S. Amateur champion) Mitch Voges (Friday) morning, and he asked me if I’d ever played with Nicklaus,” said Yates. “A couple of hours later, I was paired with him. It was kind of funny.”
Yates shot a 79.
An insurance salesman by trade, Yates has been good luck to his Augusta playing partners. Last year while playing with Yates, Jeff Maggert became only the third player in history to double-eagle the 15th hole. On Friday, Yates played with amateur Guy Yamamoto, who holed out from the fairway on the par-4 10th. It was the fourth eagle ever there.
When a player scores an eagle at Augusta, he is awarded a crystal goblet. Nicklaus now could supply a state dinner - he has 21 of them.
“I give them to Miss Barbara (his wife) and she takes care of them,” he said.
We’re in the money
The purse for the tournament has been increased by $200,000 to $2.2 million, with the winner to receive $396,000 - an increase of $36,000 over last year.
The runner-up will get $237,600, third place $149,600 and fourth place $105,600.
The payoff drops to $21,100 for 24th place, with all other professionals, including those who didn’t make the cut, receiving amounts ranging downward from $19,400 depending on the scores.
The finishes of amateurs are ignored when dividing the purse. The low amateur gets a crystal bowl.
It’s been closer
With 18 players entering the final round within five shots of the lead, statisticians were busy going over the records to see if a record was at stake.
In 1985 and 1986, there were 21 within five shots, and in 1968 there were 19. After 54 holes in 1966, there also were 18 players within five shots of the lead.
Best, worst of times
Curtis Strange had the lowest score in the third round with a 7-under-par 65, two shots better than the scores posted by Fred Couples and Steve Elkington.
At the opposite end were two-time Masters champion Seve Ballesteros of Spain and Mark Calcavecchia, each with 78s.
U.S. Amateur champion Tiger Woods, who played each of the first two rounds in par-72, struggled to a 77 and was tied with Ballesteros at 221 - the highest 54-hole score of the 47 players who made the cut.
Augusta National tamed the Tiger.
“I was about ready to break something,” said a frustrated Woods.
The 19-year-old Stanford freshman, followed by huge galleries awed by his prodigious 300-yard drives, had trouble keeping his wedge shots from flying over the greens.
“It was frustrating,” he said. “I kept hitting shots right at the flag and they kept going too long. I couldn’t believe it.”
Caddy Tommy Bennett said “there ain’t enough golf course out here for him. He hit everything long.”
Earl Woods kidded his son: “Well, I guess you’re a slow learner.”
The elder Woods added: “It was a good learning experience and that’s what you’re here for.”
The younger Woods shot back: “I’m here to win, that’s what I’m here for.”
Woods said his goal today would be to shoot a 5-under-par 67 and get back to even.
“I don’t want to leave here with green (over par) numbers on the board,” he said.
The 47 players in the third round turned in a superb scoring average of 71.340, although still well off the record for the round of 70.980, set in 1986.
The field turned in five eagles and 177 birdies. There were 522 pars, 130 bogeys, 10 double bogeys and two triple bogeys on par-4 holes - John Huston on No. 1 and Japan’s Jumbo Ozaki on No. 5.
There were 13 rounds below 70 on Saturday, 28 below par and six others at even par. Thirteen players were above par.
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