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13th hole known for beauty, drama

April 12, 2014 - 6:40 pm
Russell Henley hits from the bank of a Rae's Creek tributary that runs in front of the 13th green during the third round of the 2014 Masters Tournament.  MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
Russell Henley hits from the bank of a Rae's Creek tributary that runs in front of the 13th green during the third round of the 2014 Masters Tournament.
No. 13 Azalea
Par 5
510 yards
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The classic risk-reward hole became more challenging with a new tee added in 2002. A slight draw is required to get into position for the second shot to the par-5, but a tributary of the creek catches shots that come up short.

 

By David Lee |

 

With budding flowers lining the fairway, and a green found in countless photos, no hole at Augusta National Golf Club is more appropriately named than No. 13.

The 13th, known as Aza­lea, is one of the most famous holes in golf for its picturesque setting and dramatic moments.

It’s tucked away in the serene back edge of Augusta Na­tional as the final hole of Amen Corner. Though grouped with two other holes in one of the more well-known stretches in the sport, No. 13’s uniqueness draws patrons specifically to its ropes to watch.

The 13th is home to about 1,600 azaleas, most lining the left side. There are several behind the green and its four large bunkers, making it a favorite spot for photographs.

It’s also home to the Byron Nelson Bridge, between the tee and fairway over Rae’s Creek.

No. 13 is the third par-5 on the course and, at 510 yards, the shortest of the four. It’s divided into two risky shots, with a drive that must round the left corner to reach in two and a second shot that can either go for the green or settle right for a pitch.

“It’s just a matter of getting the tee shot away. That sets up the hole,” said Sandy Lyle, the 1988 Masters champion. “I think the guys know a strong 3-wood (off the tee) can pump it around the corner, and you don’t even have to hit driver.”

Lyle said pine limbs are noticeably missing from the left side of the fairway, likely from the February ice storm. That allows golfers to play the hole more open to the left.

No. 13 has a tributary to Rae’s Creek along the left side of the hole, so danger remains on that side. It runs in front of the green, adding risk for those who attempt the green in two.

Similar to No. 8, the 13th has an open area to the right of the green that allows golfers to lay up and pitch onto the green in three.

“You just have to hit two great golf shots. There’s no miss,” said Justin Rose, who eagled Saturday by making a 25-foot putt. “I’d rather hit an aggressive tee shot to leave myself an easier second shot than hit a 3-wood off the tee. I try to get around the corner as far as I can.”

The hole has historically played as the second easiest on the course at 4.79. That number stayed true through two rounds this year.

Jeff Maggert recorded double eagle on the hole in 1994, when he hit a 3-iron from 222 yards and found the cup. It was the third double eagle in Masters history.

Despite its beauty, the hole has been ugly to many whose balls have found trees or water. Tommy Nakajima carded 13 on the hole in 1978, the highest score on No. 13 in tournament history.

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