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A different Augusta National await newcomers from November

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Paul Casey wanted solely 11 holes to appreciate a Masters in November was an expertise not like every other at Augusta National.

He had a 6-iron to a left pin on the par-5 second gap at Augusta National. Any different 12 months — any April, actually — he would have aimed properly proper of the flag. On this gentle, autumn day, he took on the pin. The ball plopped down 6 toes away.

“You can’t hit that shot in April,” he stated. “That shot in April would have one-hopped over into the patrons.”

Consider {that a} warning.

For all however 19 gamers within the area, the Masters again in April ought to really feel prefer it normally does. There are pins to assault. There are pins to keep away from. It would not take a lot to get out of place.

For somebody like Sebastian Munoz, who made his debut final 12 months, it may very well be about beginning over.

Munoz is amongst 13 gamers who performed the Masters for the primary time final November when it was postponed seven months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He had gone to Augusta National as soon as earlier than for a scouting journey after qualifying by successful the Sanderson Farms Championship. Just his luck, that apply spherical was in November, too.

“I believe that is why I performed good. I knew what to anticipate,” Munoz said.

He was 9-under par through 54 holes until closing with a 75 to tie for 19th. Sungjae Im set the record for lowest score by a newcomer at 15-under 273, a score that would have won all but eight of the previous 84 Masters.

Munoz still recalls what Jon Rahm told him in the final round after one particular shot, a 4-iron into the par-5 15th that landed just in front of the hole and settled not far behind it: “Anything you learn today, this week, forget about it.”

“I’m looking forward to it and debuting again,” Munoz said with a laugh.

Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979 was the last player to win the Masters in his debut. Only three professionals — Carlos Ortiz, Robert MacIntyre and Will Zalatoris — and three amateurs are first-timers at this Masters.

As for the 13 who have never played in April? It’s not like they didn’t gain any experience at all.

“I don’t think we played a golf course that was similar,” said Max Homa, who missed the cut. “It was nonetheless good to get on the market and get the jitters over with. It’s additionally a golf course I believe everybody has watched greater than any golf course on tour. You know a number of spots the place that you must depart it. You nonetheless noticed the place it will possibly get you.

“I don’t think it was rocket science that it was playing different,” he stated. “I threw a 3-iron into 15 and it stopped on a dime. We knew that would happen. The best players in the world are really good at adapting.”

The fifteenth gap will get a lot of the consideration. That’s the place Rahm hit the 4-iron and Homa hit the 3-iron that stopped. Johnson spoke of 1 participant in his group to hit a 3-wood that stopped the place it landed, a shot he stated that with out an abundance of rain “is not possible.”

Adam Scott thought of what the newcomers discovered final 12 months, such because the extreme slope on the thirteenth fairway with the ball above their toes (for right-handed gamers) and numerous traces off the tee.

“Certainly, they’re going to be seeing a few new shots that they’ll have an opportunity to play, and some that you absolutely can’t play,” he stated.

The gentle circumstances of autumn — together with rain that compelled a three-hour delay firstly — had been mirrored within the report scores, from the 20-under 268 by Johnson to the 1,122 birdies for the week.

Justin Thomas believes Johnson would have received in any circumstances. He was enjoying that properly. What stood out to Thomas was the variety of newcomers who did so properly. Along with Im sharing second place, C.T. Pan tied for seventh and Abraham Ancer was within the combine till closing with a 76 to tie for thirteenth.

“I don’t think it’s a coincidence that some first-timers or younger guys played well, because a lot of the past experience was engrained in my memory,” Thomas said. “But at the end of the day, everyone had the same amount of time to prepare. Everyone knew what the golf course was, and it just about execution. But you had to go about differently than you do in April when it gets firm and fast.”

Lanto Griffin performed the opening two rounds with former Masters champion Vijay Singh, with whom he performs and practices at house in Florida. The tales had been acquainted. Griffin spoke of a 5-iron from the tough on No. 5 that got here out sizzling, landed in the course of the inexperienced and rolled harmlessly to the perimeter.

Singh informed him that ball would have gone into the magnolia timber in April.

“I think it’s easier when it goes from being really firm and fast to softer, versus soft and slow and then it speeds up,” Griffin stated. “I know this year will be a completely different animal.”

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