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Crunching the Numbers

Masters 2024: 9 obscure Augusta records unlikely to be broken

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BEN WALTON

In the run-up to the Masters each year I spend a great deal of time sifting through the tournament’s extensive media guide. In particular, the statistics and records section, which spans 40 pages, is always of interest. In 2023 alone 14 individual records were either broken by new players or re-written by the current record holder. The section, however, contains some more obscure notations. Here are nine of those that are not only modestly interesting, but likely never to be broken.

High round

Charles Kunkle, 95, final round, 1956

It would be easy to just think of Charles Kunkle as some chopper who got an invite to the Masters but that would not be giving him his due. Kunkle played in five consecutive U.S. Amateurs. His 95 came on a wind-blown day when Jack Burke Jr. made up eight shots on Ken Venturi to claim the green jacket with a day’s-best 71, so conditions were tough. Also, there was a round actually shot at the Masters that was higher than Kunkle's but doesn't technically register in Masters records. In 2005, Billy Casper shot a 105, but did not turn in his scorecard, leaving Kunkle as the tournament's official high round.

Most contrasting round

Jacky Cupit (34-48), first round, 1963

Many golfers have shot 80 or higher in the Masters, but none have done so like Jacky Cupit. Two months prior to his runner-up finish in the U.S. Open, Cupit opened his first round at Augusta National with a solid 34. Augusta’s back nine then extracted its toll as Cupit came home in 48, the 14-shot differential being the highest between nines in tournament history.

Most under par, par 5s, one round

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Dustin Johnson, 7 under par, second round, 2015

Bagging an eagle at the Masters gets contestants a pair of crystal highball glasses. After the second round of the 2015 Masters, Dustin Johnson could throw quite the cocktail party. Johnson played the four par 5s in 3-3-4-3. That’s three eagles and a birdie, kids, or seven under par. Unfortunately for Johnson, the rest of the round didn’t go so well as he only managed a 67 on the way to a T-6 finish.

Most pars, one tournament

Billy Maxwell, 59 pars, 1958

“Par is a good score” is a refrain often heard, but while solid, a parade of pars is rarely going to get you a green jacket. In 1958, Billy Maxwell put up pars on all but 13 holes, but could only manage a T-9 finish.

Two eagles on the same par 4, same tournament

Jack Nicklaus, No. 5, first and third round, 1995

Eagles electrify the Masters patrons but ones on par 4s elicit even larger roars. When they’re produced by a 55-year-old Jack Nicklaus, the noise often was deafening. When his 7-iron from 163 yards dropped at the par-4 fifth hole during 1995’s third round, the place not only went wild but the Golden Bear became the first—and to date, only—player to eagle the same par 4 twice in the same Masters.

Highest score on Hole No. 1

Ernie Els, 9, in 2016

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The Masters is Ernie Els’ house of horrors. Not only is the Hall of Famer without a green jacket, but his six-putt from three feet on his very first hole of the 2016 Masters is a moment you simply can’t unsee. After chipping, Els missed from 3 feet, 10 inches, 11 inches and 2 feet then one-handed the last two. “I couldn't get the putter back,” Els said. “I was standing there, I've got a 3-footer, I've made thousands of 3-footers, and I just couldn't take it back. … It’s hard to putt when you’ve got snakes in your head.”

Lowest score on No. 12, one tournament

8, Scott Verplank who went 2-2-2-2 in 2003

Augusta National’s par-3 12th has been the scene of many Masters disasters over the years, leading smart heads to simply play for the middle of the green, gratefully accepting par. In 2003, Scott Verplank eschewed conventional wisdom and played Golden Bell in a remarkable 2-2-2-2 en route to a T-8 finish—his only top-10 finish in the tournament.

Consecutive 2s

3, Art Wall, first round, 1974 (Nos. 4, 5, 6)

To make more than one 2 in a row at Augusta National, you need to hole out for an eagle. When 1959 Masters champion Art Wall did that on the fifth hole in 1974’s first round, it backed up a birdie on No. 4. Wall then established a new record for consecutive 2s with a birdie at the par-3 sixth. Good luck breaking this feat.

Most rounds played as an amateur

67, Charlie Coe

If there is one line in the Masters record book that I’d bet a year’s salary will be there long after I’m gone, it’s this one. The two-time U.S. Amateur champion played in 19 Masters, finishing as low amateur six times. He finished in the top 10 three times, including runner-up in 1961. Given the lure of big dollars by turning pro, the lifelong amateur in the spirit of Bobby Jones is likely not to be seen again.

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