Five holes that might decide the 2014 Masters

Rob Carr

Every hole in the final round will be key, but the 2014 Masters could come down to how well players play on five holes.

The Augusta National course setup isn't quite to the difficulty level of a traditional U.S. Open track, but many players attack it with a similar mindset. A par is a very good score on a lot of holes and the key to posting a good number is correctly picking spots to attack. That judgement will be especially important for the contenders on Sunday. Get too aggressive in the wrong spot and your chances to win the green jacket could quickly erode.

Players will need to grind from No. 1 to No. 18, but the winner may ultimately be decided by how the field plays five key holes.

No. 4, 240-yard par-3

The fourth hole has played as the toughest on the front nine this week and is a hole players will need to survive. An early bogey, or worse, can be a tough start to rebound from. The par-3 isn't very forgiving off the tee and that's even before factoring in deceptive wind. Club selection is vital. Things don't get any easier on the green, just ask Brandt Snedeker who five-putted the hole on Saturday.

No. 11, 505-yard par-4

The longest par-4 on the course is also the hardest hole this week. Amen Corner has been known to separate the contenders from the pretenders and it starts with the 11th. The hole yielded just seven birdies during the first three rounds. As is always the case, the final-round pin placement is devilish. Coming away with a par is almost like picking up a stroke.

No. 13, 510-yard par-5

If players have issues through the start of Amen Corner, they have a golden opportunity to get a stroke back at No. 13. The reachable par-5 has been the third-easiest hole on the course, yielding more birdies than any hole. The pin placement will allow for players to attack with their second shot. Eagle is a possibility, so making a bogey could cause a three-shot swing on the leaderboard. There aren't many holes at Augusta where par is disappointing, but No. 13 is one.

No. 15, 530-yard par-5

Another reachable par-5 and statistically the easiest hole on the course. There aren't many spots to make up ground on the closing stretch, but No. 15 is a place to pick up at least a stroke. While it can be a scoring hole, it only is if played correctly and there is a very thin margin for error. Seven players made double bogey or worse on the hole this week and while the pin will be one to attack on Sunday, an errant shot into the green will leave players scrambling to save par. The second shot at No. 15 might be the most important shot of the round.

No. 18, 465-yard par-4

With so many players in contention heading into the final round, there is a good chance the green jacket is won on No. 18. One of the best finishing holes in golf, the 18th at Augusta National has been the home to countless memorable moments through the years. The hole plays long and many will have a mid-iron into the green. The pin is in its customary front-left Sunday location. So many have had a putt to win the Masters on this hole, who will be the next?

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