Masters contenders eject at Amen Corner, tumble down leaderboard

max homa searches for his ball in the bushes during the final round of the 2024 masters

At one point Sunday afternoon at Augusta National, four players were tied for the lead. Then they played Amen Corner.

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The legendary sportswriter Dan Jenkins once wrote that the Masters doesn’t start until the back nine on Sunday. The golf world was reminded of that fact once again at the 88th edition of the Masters.

As the contenders in the final two groups played the final holes of the front nine of Augusta National, things were getting tight at the top of the leaderboard. Ludvig Aberg, the Masters rookie from Sweden, made three birdies over his first nine holes to reach six under. His playing partner, Max Homa, joined him at six under with a one-under front nine of his own.

In the group behind, Scottie Scheffler and Collin Morikawa started the day a little sluggish. Through seven holes, they’d combined for just one birdie, and each looked out of sorts in their own ways. For Scheffler, it was the distance control with the irons. For Morikawa, it was his balky putter.

The confluence of events made for a packed top of the leaderboard, and when the tournament did start (back nine on Sunday, remember?) all four were within a shot of each other. Scheffler’s name sat above all the rest, but the rest remained on his heels.

Then they got to Amen Corner.

The trio of holes that make up Amen Corner (Nos. 11-13) are tough in normal conditions. But when a green jacket is on the line, Amen Corner becomes a pressure cooker of nerves, emotion and impending disaster.

Aberg learned the hard lessons of Amen Corner first. After a drive into the left side of the fairway, the young Swede tried to play a high draw to the typical Sunday pin at the 11th. But he tugged the shot ever so slightly and watched as his ball disappeared into the water guarding the green. When he failed to get up and down, he dropped three shots off the pace with a disastrous double-bogey 6.

In the group behind, Morikawa’s approach met a similar fate. A draw that starts a little too far left spells doom at the 11th. He also made double bogey to fall out of contention.

Homa escaped the 11th unscathed, but the 12th proved to be his undoing. He sailed his short iron long of the green and his ball found the bushes, necessitating a penalty drop. His unsuccessful up and down resulted in double bogey as well.

All the while, the No. 1 player in the world never flinched. Scheffler kept his ball dry on 11 and 12, avoiding the disaster that fell upon his competitors. And when he walked off the 13th tee, he led by three.

If Scheffler does end up winning a second green jacket, he can point to Amen Corner as the turning point.

Zephyr Melton Editor

Zephyr Melton is an assistant editor for where he spends his days blogging, producing and editing. Prior to joining the team at GOLF, he attended the University of Texas followed by stops with the Texas Golf Association, Team USA, the Green Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists on all things instruction and covers amateur and women’s golf. He can be reached at