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10th - Camellia Par 4 – 495 yards
All downhill, but a monster. Drive OK. Stop for a photo opportunity but fail to see the funny side when the bloke asks me to take a picture of him and his wife in front of the Butler Cabin. Hit second into huge bunker in the middle of the fairway about 120 yards short of the hole. Recover well with sand wedge just to the right of the green. Caddy persuades me to chip and run, which I do only to knife it into far right trap. Cue expletives and more finger jabbing. Triple bogey seven.
11th - White Dogwood Par 4 – 505 yards
Best drive of the day, runs on to about 270 yards. Decide to hit my rescue club in. Catch it fat and leave it well short. Wedge on and two putt. Bogey five.
12th - Golden Bell Par 3 – 155 yards Give it everything with a 7-iron, watch in amazement as the ball sails high and long….. into the bunker behind the green. Faced with a downhill lie and the downslope of the green, I bottle the first attempt and spray sand all over my opponent, then thin the next one straight into Rae’s Creek. Agree to pick up as Gary Player and Trevor Immelman are giving it the Monty-hands-on-hips look back on the tee.
13th - Azalea Par 5 – 510 yards
Top my drive, still embarrassed from last hole. Cream my 3-wood another 220 yards. Duff a 7-iron, wedge on and hole 20-footer for the worst par in US Masters history. It’s a victory, of sorts...
14th - Chinese Fir Par 4 – 440 yards Find the green in regulation with driver and 6-iron. First putt is 15 feet short, second rolls down the distinctive slope at the front of the green. Throw my putter to the floor and am booed by the crowd. Three more putts. Triple bogey seven. 15th - Firethorn Par 5 – 530 yards
Good drive finds the fairway. Lay up with sensible 7-iron. Wedge into the water. Drop another one down and wedge on second time. Misread a monster 40-foot putt that breaks the other way. Turn round to have another go at my caddie, but realise he left me on the 14th green. Give myself a very generous triple bogey eight.
16th - Redbud Par 3 – 170 yards
Opt for my 6-iron off the tee. Push it right, just avoiding bunker. Duff first chip, then nobble the second to within eight feet. No break on putt but still leave it short. Double bogey five. 17th - Nandina Par 4 – 440 yards
Slice drive, this time onto 15th fairway. Play back with a safe 7-iron and then hit wedge to ten feet. Two putt and give it another needless fist pump and grit of teeth Harrington style.
18th - Holly Par 4 – 465 yards
Don’t like the look of it from the back tee, so aim far left a la Ian Woosnam in 1991. Unlike Woosie, fail to fly the left-hand bunker and am left with a rescue club in. Strike it well, just short of green. Putt just past fringe, then take another three from there. Tip cap again and sign scorecard. Then throw it in the bin when I realise I have shot 101 minus the no score on the 12th…
Walk back to the media centre to get on with the day job...
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Alex began his journalism career in regional newspapers in 2001 and moved to the Press Association four years later. He spent three years working at Dennis Publishing before first joining Golf Monthly, where he was on the staff from 2008 to 2015 as the brand's managing editor, overseeing the day-to-day running of our award-winning magazine while also contributing across various digital platforms. A specialist in news and feature content, he has interviewed many of the world's top golfers and returns to Golf Monthly after a three-year stint working on the Daily Telegraph's sports desk. His current role is diverse as he undertakes a number of duties, from managing creative solutions campaigns in both digital and print to writing long-form features for the magazine. Alex has enjoyed a life-long passion for golf and currently plays to a handicap of 13 at Tylney Park Golf Club in Hampshire.
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