Horschel: Course 'fair,' despite ball blown into water


AUGUSTA, Ga. – Justin Thomas, who went out in the day’s second pairing and shot 78, predicted Saturday’s winds could create issues for players at the Masters.

“If you hit solid golf shots you can get birdie putts out there; but when you get greens that are rolling this fast, when you get wind gusts your ball just won’t stop; get on slopes and it goes until it runs into something, like a bunker or a water hazard,” Thomas said.

Less than an hour later, Thomas’ predictions were fulfilled when Billy Horschel’s ball on the 15th green caught a gust of wind and trickled into a water hazard.

Horschel, who had chipped to 13 feet with his third shot on the par 5, was lining up his birdie putt when his ball began inching backward and into a hazard.

“I was hoping the ball would stop so I could put my coin back on it,” said Horschel, who finished with a 1-over 73. “I knew what was going to happen. I knew that once the ball rolls, once it's in play, if it starts rolling, you have to play it from where it finishes and obviously I didn't have my scuba gear to play it from the water.”

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Horschel took a moment after putting out for his bogey-6, which included a penalty stroke and an up-and-down after taking a drop, to voice his displeasure to a rules official, but said after the round he didn’t think Augusta National had become unplayable despite winds that gusted to 35 mph on Day 3.

“They wanted to get the course on a fine line and it's been, it's on a fine line today, but it's fair,” he said.