Par-5 eighth playing unusually tough
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The last group of Retief Goosen, Hunter Mahan and Robert Karlsson has just passed through the eighth hole with two pars and a Karlsson birdie. That made the birdie total on the hole today a mere 12 (with no eagles). Playing into a substantial wind most of the day, the 570-yard hole was a true three-shotter for the bulk of the field and a back-right hole location repelled shots hit just a touch short. It all added up to a stroke average on the day of 5.135, unusual considering that Augusta National's par 5s are generally regarded as a place to make up ground.
That wasn't the case at the eighth hole Friday. Of the 11 players at minus-3 or better, only two -- Ian Poulter and Soren Kjeldsen -- managed birdie. Through two rounds, the hole has produced a stroke average of 4.968. The last time the eighth played to 5.000 or higher for an entire Masters? That would be never. The closest was 4.991 in 1956 when the tournament was played in near-gale conditions on the weekend.
Something to keep an eye on for the weekend.
-- E. Michael Johnson