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The Early Lead
Posted at 01:13 PM ET, 04/09/2012

Double eagle for Louis Oosthuizen doesn’t trump a green jacket

What was Louis Oosthuizen thinking? He’d just scored a double eagle on the second hole of the Masters on Sunday — only the fourth so-called “albatross” in tournament history — and he nonchalantly flipped the ball toward fans sitting behind the green.

Fortunately, it landed in the hands of Wayne Mitchell of New Tripoli, Pa. He tucked it in a pocket of his cargo pants and later handed it over to Augusta National officials, who swarmed on the scene after the last golfers played through No. 2, without negotiation, struggle or fisticuffs.


(PHIL NOBLE / Reuters)
“Actually, the biggest fear I had was that I was going to drop it,” Mitchell said (via ESPN).

Club officials declined to say whether any transaction for the ball, which has a red No. 4 and the letters “L N J S” on it. It’s value diminished a bit when Oosthuizen lost to Bubba Watson in a playoff.

“I'm not a souvenir chaser,” Mitchell said. “For me, it was just one of those moments. The ball came at me and I put my hand out.”

The shot set Augusta buzzing and threw Oosthuizen a bit off. “When something like that happens early in your round, you think that this is it,” Oosthuizen said. “So it was tough. It was tough the next five holes to just get my head around it and just play the course.”

The Post’s Tom Boswell was one hole away with Phil Mickelson’s group and heard the crowd reaction:

“A couple thousand fans saw the shot with their own eyes and will talk about it the rest of their lives, especially the way the 253-yard downhill four-iron shot spun sideways, almost a 90-degree turn, and actually went slightly above the hole as it trickled 60 feet sideways, like some kind of bizarre masse shot in billiards, until it flopped into the right side of the cup with its last breath.

“And thousands, like me, will even remember that they heard the stupefying event — a roar so ridiculously titanic that fans around the first green couldn’t fathom its cause.”

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By  |  01:13 PM ET, 04/09/2012

 
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