Amen Corner takes away Steve Flesch's challenge
Steve Flesch was doing just what he needed to do in brutal conditions. Plod along, make a bunch of pars and hope it would be enough to win.
Then he got to Amen Corner. After dunking his ball in Rae’s Creek, Flesch didn’t have a prayer.
The left-hander took a double-bogey 5 at the picturesque 12th hole, where he knocked his tee shot into the water. Flesch went from just two strokes out of the lead to four, and it all fell apart from there. He played the last seven holes at 6 over, ruining any shot at his first major.
Flesch finished in a tie for fifth after closing with a 78, leaving him six strokes behind winner Trevor Immelman.
“I was playing all right,” Flesch said. “The wind just got really tricky on the back nine and we just pulled the wrong club on the 12th hole and it went straight up and went in the water.”
It didn’t get much better from there. After making par at the par-5 13th— one of the best shots at birdie on the course—he made four bogeys in a row.
“I was just kind of trying to make some putts, trying to make some birdies, trying to be aggressive, and got a little too aggressive on a couple shots,” he said. “It’s a little disheartening and very disappointing, but that’s all right. It’s still my best finish in a major, and hopefully if I get in the situation again, it’ll turn out differently.”
Flesch went with an 8-iron at the pivotal 12th, believing it would be enough to clear the water on a 154-yard hole that’s tucked away in a far corner of the course.
He was wrong.
“When I was over it, there wasn’t much wind at all and I was aiming it left of the bunker and I hit it solid,” Flesch said. “But halfway through the flight, it just stood straight up into the wind and I could tell halfway there that it wasn’t going to make it.”
After taking a drop and a one-shot penalty, Flesch pitched his ball over the water. But he missed a short bogey putt and walked off knowing his chances of winning were probably gone. In the pressure-packed environment of a Sunday at Augusta, his putter deserted him.
“As good as I putted the first three days, I just didn’t putt very well on the back nine,” he said. “And that’s just how it goes. The back nine on Sunday out here, they get a little more difficult.”