Breaking Down Augusta National: Amen Corner - Sunday Preview

Michael FitzpatrickFeatured ColumnistApril 9, 2009


Saturday is known as moving day around Augusta National.


However, in conditions easier than were experienced on Friday, only a few players made moves of any significance on Saturday afternoon.


With a third consecutive round in the 60s, Angel Cabrera moved into a tie atop the leader board with third round co-leader Kenny Perry. 


Perry and Cabrera, both at 11-under-par for the tournament, will face off in today’s final pairing.


Cabrera is going for his second major championship in three years; his first coming at the 2007 US Open at Oakmont.


Perry is holding history in the palm of his hands today. 


If Perry were to win the 2009 Masters, he would pass Julius Boros to become the oldest player in the history of the game to win a major championship. 


In 17 of the last 18 years, the player that has put on the green jacket late Sunday evening has come from the final pairing, and today may be no different.


Chad Campbell will begin the day just one stroke behind the leaders, and both Jim Furyk and Steve Striker are within four strokes of the lead, well within reasonable striking distance.


Last year, Trevor Immelman entered the final round with the lead, and in extremely difficult conditions, he was able to just hold on for dear life and limp home with a final round 75 en-route to his first green jacket.


Perry and Cabrera will likely have to peruse a far different strategy on this Master’s Sunday.


The conditions are absolutely perfect today in Augusta, Georgia.  Temperatures are in the high 70s and there is virtually wind whatsoever to contend with.


Any player within six strokes of the lead has a legitimate chance to make on run this afternoon, and the large contingent of players at four-under, which includes Woods and Mickelson, still have an outside chance if they can shoot somewhere in the mid-60s. .


The Augusta National Golf Club has clearly become sick and tired of hearing about the disappearance of the Sunday afternoon charge in recent years.


Call it just a hunch, but I think we will see some very accessible pin locations on the back-nine today, and combined with perfect weather conditions, will offer players the best chance they’ve had in years to make a huge Sunday afternoon charge. 


Those Sunday afternoon roars that have become synonymous with the Masters should be back and louder than ever today.


Perry and Cabrera are by no means safe at the top of the leaderboard today.

Number 11:


On Saturday, Perry entered “Amen Corner” with a one stroke lead over playing partner Chad Campbell before proceeding to bogey both the 11th and 12th holes.


If Perry follows a similar path this afternoon, he will be in massive trouble, particularly in light of the fact that Cabrera has recorded just one bogey all week at “Amen Corner”.


Whether you are sitting atop the leaderboard like Perry and Cabrera or one of those looking to make a back-nine charge, the 11th at Augusta National is just not the place to be aggressive, even in perfect conditions.


Playing as the most difficult hole on the course this week, whether you are protecting a lead or looking to make a run up the leaderbaord, take your par at the 11th, say ‘thank you very much’ and move on.



Number 12:


The 12th at Augusta National is playing as the second hardest hole on the course this week.  But, today could be different.


On Friday and Saturday, players had to battle with swirling winds at the 155 yard par-three 12th which completely baffled even the most experienced players and caddies.


Players are unlikely to face much wind anywhere on the course this afternoon, which could allow this typically brutal hole to play just a little bit easier today.


The 12th on Sunday will be a typical ‘birdie is great, but par is fine too’ hole.


Those needing to make a back-nine charge might think about attacking the pin on this short par-three.  However, with disaster lurking everywhere around this long, narrow green, missing the green could end any and all to any hope of putting on the green jacket on Sunday night.


But, those trailing by four strokes or more this afternoon, might not have much of a choice but to attach this short par-three. 


Number 13:


Whether you’re one of the leaders or one of those looking to make a move, a par on the 13th today will feel like a bogey or even worse.


Playing 510 yards, downhill with no wind, the 13th will easily be reachable in two for every single player in the field.


Perry and Cabrera have each played the 13th at two under-par this week and there is no reason to believe that these extremely long hitters will not each make at least a birdie today.


If you are sitting four or five strokes back heading to the 13th, you will really need to think about walking off that green with an eagle three.


The 15th is the only other par-five on the course; however, it will not play nearly as easy as the 13th will this afternoon.


If you are looking to quickly make up two strokes on the back-none, the 13th is certainly the place to do so.



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