When Jordan Spieth poured in a lengthy birdie putt on No. 16 at the 2018 Masters, it got him right into the thick of contention. But it also gave him a chance at something else: the Augusta National course record. Spieth arrived at the 17th tee at nine under par, but made a par at No. 17 and a bogey at 18 to fall just shy of the course record.
Augusta National Course Record
Had Spieth made birdie at 18, he would have tied Patrick Reed’s eventual winning score of 15 under. But a birdie would also have broken the course record, which has stood for 33 years, when it was set by Nick Price in 1986.
On Saturday, April 12 1986, Price teed off early — he had barely made the cut after rounds of 79-69 to start the Masters. Things didn’t start well, either: he found a fairway bunker at No. 1 and made a bogey. But his round turned in a hurry. He birdied Nos. 2, 5, 6 and 8 to make the turn at three-under 33.
It turned out that Price was just getting started. He birdied the difficult 10th, then birdied his way right ’round Amen Corner, going 3-2-4 on 11-12-13. After a pedestrian par at 14, he birdied 15 and 16, his 10th birdie of the day and fifth in six holes. Playing partner Bruce Lietzke signed the card, which you can see below.
Masters course record history
Price’s 63 set a new course record and broke the 46-year-old record set by Lloyd Mangrum. In 1940, Mangrum opened up the tournament with an eight-under 64 to take a three-shot lead over Jimmy DeMaret, who went on to win the event.
While many have threatened Augusta’s record in recent years, only one man has equaled Price’s 1986 effort. In 1996, Greg Norman came out hot on Thursday, making nine birdies in the last 12 holes to fire a 63 in the opening round and take a two-shot lead over a young Phil Mickelson. But things didn’t end all that well for Norman in ’96: Despite carrying a six-shot lead to Sunday, he shot 78 against Nick Faldo’s 67 and lost by five.
Spieth has shot 64. Tiger Woods has won four Masters, but his best round is 65. In 2018, there were plenty of final-round fireworks: Paul Casey shot 65 and Webb Simpson was seven-under through 16 holes before finishing with bogeys.
Major championship low rounds
At the U.S. Open, six players have shot 63, although only one — Justin Thomas — fired his on a par 72. At the PGA Championship, more 63s have been shot than at any other major, most recently by Brooks Koepka and Charl Schwartzel in 2018. And at the British Open, Branden Grace owns the major championship scoring record with a 62.