1. Trevor Immelman. On Saturday it appeared that the tournament’s most important shot might be Immelman’s third to the par-5 15th green. His sand wedge shot landed on the front third of the green, then zipped back and rolled off the front fringe. It kept trickling, slowly, slowly toward the water. “I was begging for it to stop,” Immelman admitted later. Luckily, the ball did stop halfway down the slope. He avoided disaster, pitched to five feet and made par. If it had gone in, he would’ve been looking at a likely double bogey. Who knows how the tournament might’ve turned?
2. Brandt Snedeker. There wasn’t a niftier shot all week than Snedeker’s on the sixth green Friday. Facing an impossible putt up and over a ridge to the pin (and having just watched playing partner John Senden putt off the green on a similar line), Snedeker pulled out a wedge and chipped it over the ridge. The ball raced down the slope dead into the cup for a creative and amazing birdie.
3. Ian Poulter. The colorful Englishman drew the loudest roar of the opening round when his 8-iron shot landed on the right side of the 16th green, picked up speed and rolled downhill until it hit the flagstick and dropped for an ace. The eagle vaulted him temporarily into a tie for the first-round lead and the roar made Tiger back of his shot on an adjacent hole.
4. Tiger Woods. It’s a tie between his shots on the 18th hole on Friday and Saturday. Woods drove into the trees both days. On Friday he played out into the 10th fairway then hit a remarkable pitch onto the green that spun back and hit Stuart Appleby’s ball. He made that putt for par. On Saturday, apparently blocked in the right trees, he drilled an iron shot through a small opening in the trees and carried it onto the front of the green. He sank an eight-footer to save par and his shoot 68.
5. Phil Mickelson. It didn’t look like a great way to start a tournament when Mickelson went over the first green, in among shrubbery and pine needles. Then he pitched that shot onto the putting surface and watched it roll into the cup for an unlikely birdie. Mickelson later called the break “a two- or three-shot swing” and he was right.
6. Tiger Woods. The second loudest roar of the opening round was probably Tiger’s eagle at the par-5 15th. He’d had an unusually quiet round with no birdies and was two over par when he came to 15. He flew his second shot just over the green then chipped in perfectly for an eagle, creating a thunderous ovation.
7. Trevor Immelman. Holding the lead, the South African didn’t feel compelled to go for the 13th green with his second shot on Sunday, unlike his playing partner Snedeker, who bounced a shot into Rae’s Creek and made bogey. Immelman laid up, played a sand wedge shot off the slope behind the pin and spun it back to two feet for birdie. Call it the clincher, perhaps, because it gave him a five-shot lead and all but iced his victory barring a calamitous collapse.
8. Steve Flesch. The lefthander had 234 yards to the pin at the 13th hole in Friday’s second round. He wanted to hit 4-iron, his caddie wanted him to hit 3-iron. He went with the 3-iron and rolled the shot to within two feet for an eagle en route to a 67, the day’s low round.
9. Tiger Woods. He never made a move on the last day. Desperate to jump start his momentum, he did just that with a 70-foot birdie putt across the 11th green, sending a jolt of electricity sparking through Amen Corner. It got him to five under par and within five of the lead.
10. Robert Allenby. The Australian landed a 6-iron on the green at the par-4 10th hole on Saturday and watched it roll into the cup for a deuce. It was just the ninth eagle at No. 10 in Masters history. Allenby hadn’t even birdied the hole on 26 previous tries.