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Master champion Sergio Garcia cards a 13 on the 15th hole

Sergio Garcia tips his cap on the 18th

Sergio Garcia tips his cap on the 18th green during the first round of the 2018 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 5, 2018 in Augusta, Georgia. Credit: Getty Images / Jamie Squire

AUGUSTA, Ga.—In his first official round at Augusta National as Masters champion, Sergio Garcia thought he had hit a shot just right into the 15th green and he did so again and again and again and again. Five balls into the water sent him to an unlucky 13, and into a tie for the worst score ever on any hole at the Masters.

“It’s the first time in my career where I make a 13 without missing a shot,” he said after he finished with 9-over-par 81 that saw him take 10 more shots on No. 15 than he did in the final round last April. “I felt like I hit a lot of good shots and unfortunately the ball just didn’t want to stop. It’s just one of those things. So, it’s just unfortunate, but that’s what it is.”

It is fortunate that he and wife Angela did not name their daughter Firethorn, the local name for No. 15. Instead, they gave her the name Azalea, after the 13th hole, where he said a par turned around his round and sent him to his only major championship.

For his first try over the pond on the 530-yard par 5 (the hole on which Gene Sarazen made double eagle in 1935), Garcia used a 6-iron from 206 yards. “I thought it was perfect. Straight at the flag,” he said. “I don’t know, if it carries probably two more feet, it’s probably good. And if it probably carries a foot less, it probably doesn’t go off the green and probably stays on the fringe. But unfortunately, I flew it on the perfect spot for it to come back.

“And then I kept hitting good shots with the sand wedge and unfortunately, I don’t know why, the ball just wouldn’t stop,” he said.

As he kept depleting the supply of balls in his golf bag and going aggressively toward the flag, his shots kept landing on the green and slipping back into the pond. As a result, he earned an entry in the Masters record book, alongside the 13 by Tom Weiskopf on the par-3 12th in 1980 and Tommy Nakajima’s 13 on the par-5 13th in 1978.

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