Open Champion Brian Harman Endures Restart Nightmare And Almost Equals Highest Nine-Hole Score Ever At The Masters

The Georgia-born left hander went from in contention at The Masters to struggling to make the cut thanks to a horrible last nine holes in round one

Brian Harman during day one of the 2024 Masters
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Open champion Brian Harman endured the nightmare of all restart nightmares when he completed the remainder of his first round at The Masters on Friday.

As a result of thunderstorms which delayed the start of The Masters, those who began later in the day on Thursday were forced to come back even earlier than their scheduled second-round tee times on Friday morning and finish off whatever was left of round one.

That included Harman, who was nicely placed at two-under through his front nine when play was halted due to a lack of visibility at around 7pm local time on Thursday evening.

However, the Georgia man's bogey-free start would quickly go up in smoke and then some once he returned to the course several hours later.

Harman made par on the 10th before chaining consecutive bogeys together at the start of Amen Corner. While the one-over streak would be snapped at the par-5 13th - known historically as the easiest hole at Augusta National - it did not go in the right direction as far as Harman was concerned.

The left-hander recorded a double-bogey seven after over-spinning his third shot - an approach into the green - back off the putting surface and into a tributary which ultimately feeds Rae's creek. Following a classy chip which left him around five feet, one of the world's best putters uncharacteristically missed and was left to roll in his seventh.

Two pars followed at 14 and 15 before a poor showing at the par-3 16th led to a triple-bogey. Harman found water with his tee shot and then left himself a monster 45-foot putt down the slope towards the front hole location after pulling his pitch from the drop zone. Three putts later and his total score read five-over.

A double bogey on 17 worsened Harman's mood (and scorecard) further, with more troubles to come on 18. A wayward drive to the right should have left him with no option but to clip out onto the fairway. Yet, Harman tried a heroic low draw around the trees in front - only to catch one and send his ball just 26 yards.

Having found the right green-side bunker with his approach into the 18th, Harman then overshot the putting surface when trying to exit the sand trap - flying his golf ball into the seated spectators behind. Two putts later and Harman's miserable back nine was complete, temporarily placing him second to last ahead of Peter Malnati.

Harman's back-nine 47 (+11) was the highest score on the second nine in a round at The Masters by a player under the age of 50 (so excluding past champions) since Danny Lee in 2009, per stats guru, Justin Ray.

It was also just two off equalling the highest nine-hole total ever seen at Augusta National - Charles Kunkle holds the official record with 49, although Billy Casper may have usurped him if the former Masters champion had handed in his scorecard several years later.

The 37-year-old was not the only player to endure a tough start to his Masters week, however. As well as the likes of Malnati and Adrian Meronk suffering a plethora of excess bogeys from early rounds, Jordan Spieth was left scrambling to make the cut at The Masters after racking up a score of nine on the 15th hole when completing his first round on Friday morning.

Jonny Leighfield
Staff Writer

Jonny Leighfield is our Staff News Writer who joined Golf Monthly just in time for the 2023 Solheim Cup and Ryder Cup. He graduated from the University of Brighton with a degree in Sport Journalism in 2017 and spent almost five years as the sole sports reporter at his local newspaper. An improving golfer who still classes himself as ‘one of the worst players on the Golf Monthly team’, Jonny enjoys playing as much as he can and is hoping to reach his Handicap goal of 18 at some stage. He attended both the 150th and 151st Opens and is keen to make it an annual pilgrimage.