...AND SO DID SATURDAY'S 64

The record-tying round that Nicklaus shot on the third day of the tournament was the most overpowering in the long history of the Masters. Eight of his drives were more than 300 yards. Twice his second shot on par-5 holes was a five-iron. Fifteen times he had birdie putts of 25 feet or less. Only twice was he in the rough. Here he assesses each stroke of his fabulous round and offers some insights on how a lot of skill and a little luck added up to 64.
April 25, 1965

1 400 YARDS, PAR 4
Of the three of us tied for the lead at 138, Gary Player, Arnold Palmer and myself, I was first off the tee, paired with Dan Sikes. It was a warm day and I felt very relaxed. I had a pretty good idea what the pin positions would be, but before teeing off I took a look at the 18th, the 9th and the 2nd holes. The pin on the first hole was at the left front of the green. Most players like to drive down the right side, figuring this gives them a better position for the second shot. I prefer to approach from the left, because there is more putting surface to shoot at from that angle—an approach from the right may easily go over the green. My tee shot was good, on the left side. I used a sand wedge, and even though I hit it about as well as I ever have, the slight following wind caught it and I ended up 50 feet past the cup. Sikes was over the green with his approach, and when he chipped back too strong I could see how fast the greens were going to be. "Oh, boy," I thought, "this could be some day." I was right, but not quite in the way I had envisioned. I managed to get my long putt within six inches of the hole and made my par.

2 555 YARDS, PAR 5
I knew the pin was on the left side. To be able to bring my second shot in properly for an eagle try I felt I had to fade my tee shot onto the right side of the fairway. The result was nearly disastrous, for I hit my one really poor drive of the Masters. It started down the line of trees on the right and faded even farther right, deep into the woods. As bad as things looked, I was optimistically telling myself that the trees would stop the ball before it went too far. But where skill abandoned me, luck took over. I was 20 or 30 yards into the trees, yet I had a clear shot down the fairway. I hit a three-iron to about 110 yards from the green, then a pitching wedge some 25 feet past the cup. As I was lining up the putt I heard a voice in the gallery behind me say, "It breaks to the right." This got me thinking because I knew the putt had to break to the left. Someone was either kidding me or had money on Arnold. I just tapped the putt and it coasted down the green and into the hole. This is what really got the round started. In my six Masters, I had never played the 2nd hole particularly well, and now, even with a terrible tee shot, I had come out with a birdie. It was going to be my day.

3 355 YARDS, PAR 4
I hit a three-wood off the tee—about 250 yards—to keep the ball on the upslope of the fairway and give myself a better chance to stop the approach shot on a green that is always fast and hard. My wedge kicked in about 10 feet from the hole, but my putt for a birdie was too cautious. Par 4.

4 220 YARDS, PAR 3
The pin was on the left side and I thought a four-iron, hit not too hard, would be just right. It was not the correct club at all, yet two errors added up to one birdie. I hit the four-iron fat, but the ball floated down only eight feet to the left of the hole. What a pleasant surprise! After a break like that I felt sure I would make the putt, and I did.

5 450 YARDS, PAR 4
I hit a good drive into the center of the fairway and, given the distance to the flagstick, 175 yards into a slight wind, would normally have used a five-iron. By now, however, I was getting so charged up I thought I had better drop down to a six-iron. I played the shot pretty well, but I did not allow for enough break on my 20-foot putt. A par.

6 190 YARDS, PAR 3
The pin was in the front of the green, the easiest possible position. I knew the danger of playing short and to the left, so I hit to the right and long. The ball landed on a bank and bounced in, ending up about 20 feet past the hole. It was a fast putt with about a foot of break across a green that is always difficult, but I sank it for a birdie.

7 365 YARDS, PAR 4
I had not driven too well here on the first two rounds, and this time my left foot slipped on the downswing. I should slip more often. The drive was dead straight and I had a perfect lie in the fairway. Many times a player will begin to get nervous when he gets three under par, but for some reason I was not. I just thought to myself, "Here's another birdie hole. Now take advantage of it." I hit as fine a wedge as I ever have. It held the line all the way, had a lot of bite on it and bounced up no more than two feet from the cup. The putt was no problem; my fourth birdie in seven holes.

8 530 YARDS, PAR 5
After a good drive—perhaps 320 yards—down the right side I hit a three-iron up toward the green, reasoning that if I had made a mistake in the choice of club I would rather be short than over. I was short all right—on the green but a good 80 feet from the hole. You can sense how hard to stroke a 15- or 20-foot putt but not how hard to stroke an 80-footer. You just hit and hope. I hit it hard to get it well up the green, and it broke in no more than 18 inches from the cup. So now I had another easy birdie.

9 420 YARDS, PAR 4
Since the pin was on the right side I knew I could cut the left corner of this dogleg with my tee shot. I hit over the corner, past the trees and down to the bottom of the fairway, about 100 yards from the green. My pitch shot went 20 feet beyond the hole and I two-putted. At this moment I was thinking about pulling ahead of the field, not about a record-tying round. My lead, according to the big scoreboard overlooking the 18th green, was four shots. After that I never checked a scoreboard again. I knew that as long as I did not make any bogeys I would not have much to worry about for today.

10 470 YARDS, PAR 4
I hit my tee shot into the right side of the fairway and, since I was about 160 yards from the hole, would normally have used a six-iron. But I felt so strong—and this happens sometimes—that I knew I wouldn't be able to hit a six-iron easy enough, so I decided on an eight-iron. I put it within 20 feet of the hole, two-putting for a par.

11 445 YARDS, PAR 4
My drive was down the right side and long. The pin was left center, almost behind the pond that borders the left side of the green. But I never worry about where the pin is on this hole, because I always hit the ball at the right of the green. I do not want to mess with that pond. I used an eight-iron and ended up 50 feet to the right of the cup; safe, but sure. Two putts gave me the par.

12 155 YARDS, PAR 3
A lot of thoughts went through my mind on the tee, including memories of a horrible shank that I hit here last year. I thought, "Don't chicken out, for heaven's sake, and don't shank!" The pin was in the left front of the green, about as tough a position as you can get, because it reduces the target area to the size of a kitchen table. I could not have hit a better eight-iron. It was very high and dropped five feet from the hole. I was so excited just to be on the green with a sure par that I did not concentrate on the putt. I hit an awful one, pulling it off to the left of the pin. It never had a chance.

13 475 YARDS, PAR 5
Another birdie hole. I hit a good drive around the corner of the dogleg, but found a clump of mud on the side of the ball when I got to it. The pin was tucked into the right front, awfully close to the creek that guards the green. I decided to play safe to the left and hit a five-iron. The ball got up nicely, and then sort of dove to the left, ending up about 45 feet above the hole. I had visions of rolling the ball down the hill, past the hole and into the water. So I stroked a very cautious putt that stopped four feet short. But I got my birdie.

14 420 YARDS, PAR 4
The wind was blowing slightly from left to right and I tried to hug the left side of the fairway with my drive. I started it too far right, however, and it kicked off the sloping fairway into the rough on the right. From there I had to punch a seven-iron under a tree limb and let the ball bounce up onto the green. Two putts from 22 feet gave me a par.

15 520 YARDS, PAR 5
The wind was a little bit into our faces. I wanted to hit the tee shot as hard as I possibly could, and I really killed it. It was a low, boring drive that got out about 330 yards. But I had pulled it too much, and two big trees on the left side of the fairway stood squarely between me and the green. My alternatives were to aim my approach at the grandstand to the left of the green and fade the ball in, which would have been idiotically dangerous, or aim at the 17th tee and try to hook the ball into the green. I decided on the latter course, and used a five-iron. The ball carried the water, hooked about 20 yards and ended up just off the right edge of the green, about 80 feet from the cup. I remembered from having this same chip two years ago how fast the green could be, so I just hit the ball softly with my pitching wedge, and it rolled and rolled and rolled, right down to about 18 inches from the hole. I made the birdie putt.

16 190 YARDS, PAR 3
It was just after I had hit a six-iron about eight feet short of the pin that the thought came to me, "Here I am with a short putt for eight under par and a chance to tie Lloyd Mangrum's record." It was the first time I fully realized what kind of score I was shooting. The ovation I got walking to the green made me feel just great. I never got nervous about the putt. I just thought, "You've got to make this one." And I did, right into the middle of the hole. It was strange how all week my putts were going into the middle of the cup. They seldom seemed to trickle in the side.

17 400 YARDS, PAR 4
My drive was long, but I hit it too far to the right. I tried to force an eight-iron into the green, but it hit an upslope about 15 feet in and drew back to the front edge, leaving me a full 70 feet from the cup. The putt started uphill, then coasted down toward the hole and stopped six inches away. Frankly, I could not believe it. You just do not get putts like that so close.

18 420 YARDS, PAR 4
I stepped up to the tee and thought, "Well, let's not hit it to the left. Let's go all the way," and I faded the drive around the trees on the right. It was the longest tee shot I have ever hit on this uphill hole-about 320 yards. I took out a pitching wedge, but as I got set to swing, a little single-engine plane came flying low, right down the line of the fairway. So I backed off the shot. When I got over the ball again the silence was eerie. It was so quiet that you might have thought that every one of the 15,000 people around the green had gone home. I was a little too anxious with the shot, and pulled it to the left side of the green. The ball hit and rolled back about 25 feet to the left of the cup. I was not really too disappointed, just happy to be on the green and putting for a 3. It was a tough putt, rolling with the grain of the grass for the first half and against it the last half. I played it very carefully. I left it short, which was disappointing, but there was nothing disappointing about my 64.

MAPThis map of Augusta National shows each tee and approach shot of the record-tying round. The flags indicate actual pin positions, and lines are curved when a shot hooked or sliced.
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PHOTO

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)