Horschel not so fortunate from water on 13th this time

Jon Rahm reacts after finishing his final round on the 18th green during the Masters Tournament Sunday, April 11, 2021, at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)


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Jon Rahm reacts after finishing his final round on the 18th green during the Masters Tournament Sunday, April 11, 2021, at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)



AUGUSTA - Billy Horschel had another encounter with the water on No. 13.

He wasn’t so lucky this time, despite not falling on backside.

In the final round Sunday, Horschel took an 8 on the par-5 13th when he hit his drive into the creek to the left on the fairway. As he did the day before – but much further up the hole – Horschel removed his socks and shoes, rolled up his pants and played the ball from the water. His second shot from the predicament didn’t leave the creek bed but rather buried in tall grass. Next came a swing and a miss.

It was then Horschel decided to take an unplayable lie. He dropped on the fairway, played up short of the green. He then played onto the green and two-putted for a triple-bogey eight. He went from 3-over to 6-over.

In Saturday’s third round, Horschel hit his ball in the same creek fronting the green. Despite the ball being submerged, he managed par. He took off his shoes and socks, rolled up his pants and began to analyze the shot. When he was returning to the water to play his ball, the lowlight came with a slip and fall on his backside walking down the slope.

But wait … there’s more.

Two holes later, on the par-5 15th, Horschel had another encounter with water. His second shot flew both the water fronting the green and green. It rolled all the way into the water on the par-3 16th to the left of the 15th. He followed with a drop and approach short of the green. A chip and putt later, Horschel had a bogey six.

Coming back over the water at the 16th was not a problem. Horschel birdied the hole to get back his lost shot.

Horschel needn’t feel so bad. Hideki Matsuyama did the same thing by putting the ball in the water on his way to victory. Matsuyama bogeyed No. 16 but it was of little consequence with his large lead.

Don’t pick up a stray ball

Spectator Rule No. 1: Don’t pick up a golfer’s ball.

Early in the final round at the Masters Sunday, the basic tenant was called upon. Tyrrell Hatton’s second shot to the par-5 No 2 overshot the green and rolled up into a small group of fans. The crowd parted and a gallery guard made his way to the ball. It was then an unknowing would-be good Samaritan stepped forward and picked up the ball to hand to the guard.

A collective “No!” came from the gallery and the ball was quickly set back down.

When Hatton arrived, and after an apology from the polite Englishman to those gathered, he was informed that the ball had been picked up. A rules official was called over and a determination was made that Hatton could play the ball as it lied – with one caveat. Due to COVID-19 protocol, Hatton could replace the ball since it had been touched. He smiled and politely declined. Hatton’s caddy, when told of the possible replacement, snarked ‘What did they do, lick it?”

For the record, Hatton chipped on the green and two putted for par.

Four straight birdies

Although out early, Paul Casey and Hatton each had stretches with four birdies – on all the same holes. Patrick Reed matched them late in the afternoon.

Each birdied Nos. 13, 14, 15 and 16 on Sunday. The run helped Casey go from 4-over to 1-over and Hatton go from 3-over to 1-under for the tournament. Reed started the day 1-under and finished 4-under.

Xander Schauffele also pulled off four straight birdies on Nos. 12, 13, 14 and 15. The run got Schauffele to 10-under par and only two behind Hideki Matsuyama with three holes to play. However, Schauffele hit into the water on the 16th and finished with a triple-bogey to shoot himself out of contention to win. He finished tied for third.

Does a 66 matter?

Jon Rahm turned in a round of 66 on Sunday. That’s the good news. The bad news? He started the day 11 strokes behind the third-round leader and winner Matsuyama.

Rahm’s 6-under round did move him up the leaderboard but he was never in really in contention.

“Does it matter? 11 shots back, I would say so, yeah. Definitely,” Rahm said of being too far back to start the day. “I mean, I kind of went out there, tried to put the best round out there for me. I never really thought there was going to be a chance unless I posted a record-breaking score, which needed to be 9-, 10-under.”

The low round of the day moved Rahm up to a tie for fifth place.

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