The flag on the second hole at Augusta National Golf Club was cut just 12 feet from the left edge of the putting surface, behind a yawning bunker. It was a spot that would strike fear into the heart of weekend golfers, but the 575-yard par-5 never stood a chance in the opening round of the 2020 Masters.
Known as Pink Dogwood, it has historically played as one of the easiest on the course. It’s a birdie hole for the pros and elite amateurs, and after heavy rain fell on Thursday morning, the field bludgeoned it into submission.
The second hole has played to a stroke average of 4.79 since the Masters began in 1934, making it 16th easiest on the course. Last year the stroke average was just 4.68, but on Thursday, among the 77 players who completed it, the average dipped to 4.49. That made it the easiest hole on the course, and a player who made par was, in reality, losing half a shot to the field.
Paul Casey, the overnight leader at 7 under (65), is not known as an especially big hitter by PGA Tour standards, but he made eagle on the second hole Thursday after his tee shot caught the downslope and went 359 yards. Taking advantage of the soft conditions and using the natural backstop in the back-left portion of the green, his iron shot from 213 yards out stopped on a dime 5 feet from the hole.
Webb Simpson, the 2012 U.S. Open champion, finished Thursday among the golfers tied for second place, two shots behind Casey. He also made an eagle on the second hole after his fairway wood approach hot slammed on the brakes 7 feet from the cup.
Jon Rahm (69) and Dustin Johnson (3 under through nine holes) also eagled the second hole.
Even when golfers seemingly were in trouble on the second hole, many used the green’s slopes and contours to get their ball close.
Adam Scott, the 2013 Masters champion, sent his second shot over the green on the right and appeared to be in an awkward spot Thursday afternoon. However, the Australian coolly hit a lob wedge from a sidehill lie high into the air and landed the ball behind the hole. Then he watched it trickle to within 2 feet to set up a birdie.
Justin Thomas’ second shot finished 52 yards from the hole in front of the green. The former University of Alabama star hit a low pitch shot that sailed over most of the putting surface, bounced three times and then quickly skidded to a stop 2 feet from the hole.
Billy Horschel, the 2015 FedEx Cup champion, was the last player to complete the hole on Thursday evening. While his playing partners, Cameron Smith and two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson opted to mark their position and complete the hole on Friday morning after the horn blew, Horschel added one last insult to injury. After a good chip, he holed a 5-foot birdie putt to become the 37th golfer to card a four on Pink Dogwood.
There are a few challenging hole locations the tournament committee can use later in the tournament, but in soft conditions and with little wind forecasted through the weekend, the second hole is has become a sitting duck.