Sport Golf Reigning Masters champ Sergio Garcia bags a record he doesn’t want: 13 strokes on a single, disastrous hole
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Reigning Masters champ Sergio Garcia bags a record he doesn’t want: 13 strokes on a single, disastrous hole

a crestfallen Sergio Garcia surveys the pond that swallowed five balls - and his hope repeating last year's Masters triumph. Photo: AP/David Phillip
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Defending champion Sergio Garcia racked up 13 shots at the par-five 15th on Thursday, matching the highest score recorded at any hole in the US Masters.

Garcia’s hopes of successfully defending his title were in tatters after his meltdown at Augusta National.

In scenes resembling the fictional movie Tin Cup than a major championship, Garcia drowned five balls in the pond guarding the green and the Spaniard’s hopes of becoming the fourth man to win consecutive Green Jackets all but disappeared in a few minutes.

Sergio Garcia drops his sixth ball, the shot that finally found the green and stayed there. Photo: EPA/David Gombert

It was a record high score at the hole. The previous worst was 11, by three players – Jumbo Ozaki in 1987, Ben Crenshaw in 1998 and Ignacio Garrido in 1999.

After his second shot – with a six iron from 206 yards – found the water in front of the green, Garcia took a penalty drop and left himself around 90 yards to the green, but repeatedly hit wedge shots onto the putting surface and watched them spin back into the hazard.

“I thought it was perfect, straight at the flag,” the Spaniard said. “If it carries probably two more feet, it’s probably good.

“It’s one of those things,” he shrugged.

“I feel like it’s the first time in my career where I make a 13 without missing a shot. Simple as that.

“I felt like I hit a lot of good shots and, unfortunately, the ball just didn’t want to stop. So it’s just unfortunate, but that’s what it is.

“It’s not the first time the pin’s been there, but with the firmness of the greens and everything I felt like the ball was going to stop and, unfortunately for whatever reason, it didn’t want to.”

Garcia was two over par before the setback and he gathered himself to birdie the next hole before carding nine-over 81.

He matched Tom Weiskopf and Tommy Nakajima for the worst score at a single hole in the Masters.

Weiskopf’s 13 occurred at the par-three 12th in 1980 while Nakajima’s 13 was at the par-five 13th in 1978.

Garcia’s misadventure echoes the 1996 movie Tin Cup, which saw the headstrong main character, played by Kevin Costner, in contention on the final hole at a US Open before running up a 12 after repeatedly ignoring his caddy’s advice and finding the water with every approach shot.

-AAP

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