Charley Hoffman soared to a huge four-stroke lead after the first round of the Masters with a brilliant final 11 holes that included seven birdies en route to a score of 7-under. Things didn’t go as well in the second round, but thanks to some luck, he is still the leader.
Hoffman moved to 8-under early in the second round. But things fell apart when he carded five bogeys in a six-hole stretch that ended with a bogey on No. 11, the first hole of Amen Corner.
Hoffman’s lead had completely evaporated.
He picked up a par on the par-3 12th before narrowly avoiding complete disaster on the final hole of Amen Corner, the 13th, a Par 5.
Hoffman hit his tee shot up the right side of the fairway, leaving his ball at the top of the hill. While the 13th is often reachable in two shots, Hoffman was 240 yards from the hole and hitting into the wind.
That didn’t faze Hoffman who pulled out his 3-hybrid and decided he was going for the green.
There wasn’t even any doubt about the wind he was facing. After initially setting up for his shot, he was forced to back away when a gust suddenly picked up.
But Hoffman had made up his mind.
When he stepped back up to the ball, he hit possibly his worst shot of the day. Aiming for the left side of the green, the ball came off of Hoffman’s club going right from the get-go.
At this point, Hoffman’s only hope is that the ball will go so far to the right that it will stay out of Rae’s Creek in front of the green.
But as they say, sometimes it is better to be lucky than good. The ball did avoid the creek and landed to the right of the green, in the fairway, and in a perfect spot for chip to the green.
The amazing thing is that if Hoffman had taken an iron and laid up, he almost certainly wouldn’t have ended up in as good of a spot as he did with the mishit.
Hoffman then chipped the ball within inches of the hole, leaving himself a short putt for birdie.
Hoffman would go on to par the final five holes and go into the clubhouse tied with Sergio Garcia at 4-under. If not for that fortunate break on No. 13, he would have lost one or two strokes on that hole and who knows how many others on the following holes if he wasn’t able to recover mentally.
Instead, Hoffman has a shot to be in the final pairing when the third round starts on Saturday.
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