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Huston’s 10 on 13th Far From Perfect

TIMES STAFF WRITERS

John Huston, the first-round leader in the Masters, suffered a devastating quintuple-bogey 10 at the 13th hole during Friday’s second round that severely dampened his hopes.

Huston needed twice as many shots as called for at the par-five hole, hitting into the creek in front of the green twice before he finally managed to keep a ball on the pebbly ground at the edge of the water.

“It was pretty embarrassing,” said Huston, solemn as he came off the 18th hole. “You never know what’s going to happen in this tournament.”

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Huston was well off the Masters record for the highest score at the 485-yard hole--Tommy Nakajima holds that dishonor with a 13 in 1978--but there might have been no more devastating series of shots for a golfer who was near the top of the leaderboard at Augusta National.

Huston holed out a 190-yard shot for eagle at No. 18 on Thursday to grab the lead with a 67. He was still in contention when he teed off at 13, a respectable one over for the day.

His drive was fine, but things began to unravel when his second shot was sliced short of the creek. He tried a finesse chip shot, but it went in the water. He dropped farther back in the fairway and tried again, only to see another shot plop in the water.

Huston dropped again, and it looked as if he was creek-bound a third time. But the ball stayed dry, giving him a chance to punch up on the green. Two putts later, he was through.

Huston bogeyed the next hole but managed to pull himself together to birdie two of the last three holes for a five-over 77.

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It was close to making the record books, but Doug Ford’s 94 is only the second-worst score in Masters history. Charles Kunkle had a 95 in the fourth round in 1956.

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Ken Green toasted Arnold Palmer, his playing partner, and didn’t wait until they got to the locker room to do it.

Green sent a friend over to the concession stand near the 14th green to get him a beer, then saluted Palmer and downed it on the 15th fairway.

“I was a little surprised at that,” Palmer said.

Green said it was merely his way of saluting Palmer.

“I’ve always wanted to have a beer with him,” Green said. “I said, ‘This one’s for you and me.’ The King was good. He made the day worth showing up for.”

Palmer shot an 87 for a 32-over 176. (So as not to embarrass Palmer, the scoreboard at the 18th green listed only Green’s name, removing Palmer’s 32 over par.)

Only three months ago Palmer had prostate surgery. He said he was amazed by the reception he received from his fans along the course. “I’m really embarrassed with the way I played,” he said. “I didn’t realize how much my health affected my swing.”

Palmer, 67, said he intends to return in 1998 for his 44th Masters. He hasn’t made the cut since 1983.

Palmer said his energy was sapped by playing 36 holes at Augusta. “It was hit it, carry Arnie, hit it, carry Arnie,” he said.

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Jack Nicklaus now has more eagles, 23, and victories, six, than anybody else in Masters history.

Nicklaus, 57, made an eagle three on the 500-yard 15th when he hit a five-iron 25 feet from the hole and made the putt.

After opening with a 77, Nicklaus came back with a two-under 70 and made the cut for the 35th time in 39 appearances.

Nicklaus said he understood why Palmer was upset but thinks his longtime protagonist isn’t going anywhere. “He expects more of himself, so I think he was [the] most disappointed,” Nicklaus said.

“The guy’s always been a fighter. . . . He’ll probably be playing this game long after any of us are still here. He’ll probably be playing the Masters in the year 3000.”

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Tom Watson’s worry: worms.

“If it rains, the condition of the golf course is going to change,” Watson said after his 68. “It brings out the worms. You’re also going to get some mud on the ball, not these pristine, perfect lies.”

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Nicklaus said he has tried to help Greg Norman correct a flaw in his swing. “He gets around and gets the club behind himself,” Nicklaus said. “And he knows that, and he knows it more than he ever did.”

The only bad swing Norman made in the fourth round last year was on No. 12, when he knocked the ball into the water.

“When we talked afterward, I asked him ‘Do you know why? And if you don’t, figure it out so it doesn’t happen again.’ That’s what we all have to figure out.”

* The Associated Press contributed to this story.


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