No 15 - Firethorn - Par 5 500 Yards


The toughest thing about No. 15 is its position in the rota - the final par 5, four holes from the finish. It's the last chance to really gamble, go for it in two, and quite frankly, many times it just doesn't work.
There are three main trouble areas here: l, the mounds along the right side of the fairway 230 yards out; 2, the trees on the left side of the fairway, waiting to collect a shot which has been drawn just a bit too much; and 3, the water both in front of the green and behind.
The gut-wrenching thing about the hole is how you are going to hit the second. Seve Ballesteros hit one of the worst 4-irons of his career while in the heat of battle in 1986, when Jack Nicklaus won for the sixth time. It plopped into the water. The shot not only to have clear the water, it must have enough legs so that it will climb strongly onto the green. Many a ball has crossed the water hazard and reached the green, only to spin back into the drink.
Quite often, this is a hole that must be birdied, or even eagled, for a player to have a chance to win. Not often does a player have to double-eagle. But that is what Gene Sarazen did at 15 in 1935. Three strokes behind Craig Wood, Sarazen hit the most famous shot in history here, a 4-wood which tracked right into the cup. The next day Sarazen won it in the Masters' then-18 hole playoff.
Stories abound of winners who made eagle here - Jose Maria Olazabal did it in '94 with a 30-foot putt against Tom Lehman the last time. But there are just as many stories of men who were oh, so close, when they came to 15 and inexplicably dumped it in the water.
Billy Joe Patton did it '54. Curtis Strange did in '85. And perhaps the most heavily criticized of all, Chip Beck didn't do either when he was battling Bernhard Langer in '93. Beck choose to lay up, and in so doing, he took away his chance for eagle and didn't make birdie, either. Langer won his second Masters that year.