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Contenders praying for easy ride at A Amen corner.

Byline: Steve Palmer

THE wondrous azaleas and abundant beauty of Augusta National Golf Club are set before you on these pages, but for the 99 runners teeing off in the Masters tomorrow the course has a menacing side of which they must be wary.

Amen Corner is a portion of Augusta which is laced with danger and the point at which many a Masters has been won or lost. It comprises the approach shot at the 11th hole, the whole of the 12th and the tee shot at the 13th, and Totesport are betting on which player (from a select 20-man field) performs best over these three holes.

Phil Mickelson is their 6-1 favourite to need the fewest strokes to negotiate his way from 11 to 13, with Tiger Woods 8-1 second favourite and a trio of Englishmen (Lee Westwood, Paul Casey and Justin Rose) next in the list at 12-1. Any of the 20 who misses the cut is deemed a loser.

If a play-off is needed to decide the Masters winner after a 72-hole tie, the 18th hole will be played in a suddendeath format. The tenth will be the second extra hole, and then the 18th and the tenth will be played in rotation until a winner is identified.

The Masters is the only one of the four Majors which is decided by sudden death in the event of a play-off. Angel Cabrera won a three-man play-off against Kenny Perry and Chad Campbell at Augusta in 2009 with a par at the second extra hole (the tenth).

This year's tournament is a best-price 4-11 with Bet365 not to go to a play-off and biggest at 11-4 with Totesport to require one. There have been 14 play-offs in the 74-year history of the Masters. Totesport - Amen Corner winner: 6 P Mickelson, 8 T Woods, 12 L Westwood, P Casey, J Rose, M Kuchar, 14 B Watson, M Kaymer, N Watney, D Johnson, 16 PHarrington, G Ogilvy, R McIlroy, H Mahan, 20 R Goosen, E Els, S Stricker, I Poulter, S Garcia, L Donald. Each-way 1/5 1,2,3,4.

Course guide shows 2010 scoring stats for each hole plus a ranking for the difficulty of each hole based on the entire history of the tournament, 1 being the hardest, 18 the least difficult.

Course graphics by DAVID PENZER 1st Tea Olive 445 yards Par 4 2010 - Eagles 0, Birdies 25 Bogeys 67, Double bogeys 7 Triple bogeys or worse 1 2010 stroke average 4.186 All-time difficulty ranking T6 A daunting start for the players with one of the toughest holes on the course first up. A bunker approximately 290 yards from the tee guards the fairway, so players who lack the power to carry the bunker with their tee shot face a tough uphill second. The green is heavily undulated.

2nd Pink Dogwood 575 yards Par 5 2010 - Eagles 3, Birdies 121 Bogeys 12, Double bogeys 2 Triple bogeys or worse 2 2010 stroke average 4.642 All-time difficulty ranking 16 This dogleg left can be reached in two, but trouble can come into play in the form of a fairway bunker down the right. The green is guarded by two bunkers in front, while anything long or left with the second is bad news. Although this is the longest hole on the course, it offers the best birdie chance.

3rd Flowering Peach 350 yards Par 4 2010 - Eagles 0, Birdies 65 Bogeys 41, Double bogeys 4 Triple bogeys or worse 0 2010 stroke average 3.945 All-time difficulty ranking 14 This short par-four features four bunkers to the left of the fairway. The pear-shaped green, which slopes right to left, has been changed less than any other on the course, but always allows for some wicked pin positions. Most players opt for position off the tee with a long iron or a fairway wood.

4th Flowering Crab Apple 240 yards Par 3 2010 - Eagles 0, Birdies 23 Bogeys 86, Double bogeys 6 Triple bogeys or worse 0 2010 stroke average 3.256 All-time difficulty ranking 4 Lengthened by around 30 yards in 2008, this short but tough par three is straight but difficult in strong winds. The green slopes to the front and is guarded by two bunkers. The length of the hole varies a great deal depending on whether the back tee is used or not.

5th Magnolia 455 yards Par 4 2010 - Eagles 0, Birdies 17 Bogeys 89, Double bogeys 7 Triple bogeys or worse 1 2010 stroke average 4.328 All-time difficulty ranking 5 An uphill dogleg left with a sloping green. Several fairway bunkers demand accuracy off the tee, with only big hitters able to clear the 315-yard carry. The green slopes to the front, while a bunker back left catches anything long, and the bumpy green makes for a challenging putting surface.

6th Juniper 180 yards Par 3 2010 - Eagles 0, Birdies 32 Bogeys 60, Double bogeys 5 Triple bogeys or worse 0 2010 stroke average 3.135 All-time difficulty ranking 13 Usually the most straightforward of Augusta's par threes, the sixth starts from an elevated tee and a large bunker guards the front of a huge green. Usually no more than a medium iron is needed from the tee but it is vital to find good green position as the slope is quite marked.

7th Pampas 450 yards Par 4 2010 - Eagles 2, Birdies 29 Bogeys 71, Double bogeys 8 Triple bogeys or worse 0 2010 stroke average 4.149 All-time difficulty ranking T11 This is much longer than it used to be after a new tee was installed in 2002 and most players need to use a driver from the tee. There are three bunkers at the front of the elevated green and two over the back which combine with a narrow fairway to pose a toughish challenge.

8th Yellow Jasmine 570 yards Par 5 2010 - Eagles 1, Birdies 83 Bogeys 38, Double bogeys 3 Triple bogeys or worse 0 2010 stroke average 4.807 All-time difficulty ranking 15 Long and uphill with a large bunker on the right side of the fairway. Find that and you won't be able to get to the green in two, but the further left you go, the more testing the second shot. The green is partially protected by pines along the left of the fairway.

9th Carolina Cherry 460 yards Par 4 2010 - Eagles 0, Birdies 37 Bogeys 46, Double bogeys 1 Triple bogeys or worse 1 2010 stroke average 4.033 All-time difficulty ranking T11 Famous for the huge slope at the front of the green which makes even par something of a challenge. Anything short can end up rolling back 50 yards or more and leave a devilishly difficult chip. To add to players' worries, there are bunkers protecting the right and left.

10th Camellia 495 yards Par 4 2010 - Eagles 0, Birdies 24 Bogeys 67, Double bogeys 12 Triple bogeys or worse 3 2010 stroke average 4.232 All-time difficulty ranking 1 This downhill, dogleg left was historically Augusta's most difficult hole, but the 11th has taken over that title in recent years. Left or centre of the fairway is the preferred landing area for the drive - too far to the right leaves a long second while trees are a hazard to the left. The green slopes from right to left.

11th White Dogwood 505 yards Par 4 2010 - Eagles 0 Birdies 11, Bogeys 76 Double bogeys 10, Triple bogeys or worse 0 2010 stroke average 4.289, All-time difficulty ranking 3 Another monster par four which has taken over from No. 10 as the hardest hole on the course because of its added length. Wind can be a factor at the start of the famous Amen Corner. The tee shot plays downhill and left to right. A pond guards the green to the left, while a bunker lies in wait on the right side.

12th Golden Bell 155 yards Par 3 2010 - Eagles 0, Birdies 41 Bogeys 48, Double bogeys 9 Triple bogeys or worse 5 2010 stroke average 3.148, All-time difficulty ranking 2 Swirling winds make this, the shortest hole on the course, a key danger. Club selection can range from a six iron to a nine iron depending on the wind. Rae's Creek catches anything short, as does the front bunker, while there are two more bunkers at the back.

13th Azalea 510 yards Par 5 2010 - Eagles 10, Birdies 107 Bogeys 33, Double bogeys 7, Triple bogeys or worse 1 2010 stroke average 4.725, All-time difficulty ranking 17 A risk-reward hole full of danger.

routine for those failing to find the putting surface.

Rae's Creek runs down the side and across the front of the green, while there are four bunkers over the back, making birdies anything but 14th Chinese Fir 440 yards Par 4 2010 - Eagles 1, Birdies 35 Bogeys 70, Double bogeys 9 Triple bogeys or worse 2 Stroke average 4.147 All-time difficulty ranking 8 The fairway is lined by evergreens, but this is the only hole on the course without a single bunker. The green slopes sharply from left to right and is considered the most testing on the course. Joint course record holder Nick Price took eight here in 1993.

15th Firethorn 530 yards Par 5 2010 - Eagles 15, Birdies 109 Bogeys 28, Double bogeys 4 Triple bogeys or worse 1 2010 stroke average 4.568 All-time difficulty ranking 18 Easily reachable in two when the wind allows, but a pond in front is intimidating and anything leaking to the right will find sand. Tricky pin positions are a feature of this hole and it's not unheard of to see a putt roll off the green and into the pond.

16th Redbud 170 yards Par 3 2010 - Eagles 2, Birdies 45, Bogeys 56 Double bogeys 7, Triple bogeys or worse 1 2010 stroke average 3.075 All-time difficulty ranking 9 Scene of Tiger Woods's miracle chip-in from the back in 2005. There is water to the left and the green slopes significantly from right to left. Par is considered a good score, though this hole has yielded more aces in the tournament than the other par threes put together.

17th Nandina 440 yards Par 4 2010 - Eagles 0, Birdies 33, Bogeys 60 Double bogeys 4, Triple bogeys or worse 0 2010 stroke average 4.158 All-time difficulty ranking 10 The Eisenhower Tree stands to the left-centre of the fairway approximately 210 yards from the tee, so doesn't come into play. Two bunkers guard the front on this relatively straightforward hole that is middle-ranking in terms of difficulty. A good birdie opportunity.

18th Holly 465 yards Par 4 2010 - Eagles 0, Birdies 37, Bogeys 85 Double bogeys 8, Triple bogeys or worse 0 2010 stroke average 4.206 All-time difficulty ranking T6 An uphill dogleg right that is protected by two bunkers to the left of the fairway. There are two more bunkers protecting the front of the two-tiered green. Lengthened by 40 yards in 2002, it is now a serious final-hole test, with accuracy off the tee a must.

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The picturesque 16th green at Augusta
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Apr 6, 2011
Words:1870
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