A different Augusta National await newcomers from November

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FILE - In this Nov. 13, 2020, file photo, Max Homa chips to the second green during the second round of the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga. Homa expects a different Augusta National in April. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson, File)

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Paul Casey needed only 11 holes to realize a Masters in November was an experience unlike any other at Augusta National.

He had a 6-iron to a left pin on the par-5 second hole at Augusta National. Any other year — any April, really — he would have aimed well right of the flag. On this soft, autumn day, he took on the pin. The ball plopped down 6 feet away.

“You can't hit that shot in April,” he said. “That shot in April would have one-hopped over into the patrons.”

Consider that a warning.

For all but 19 players in the field, the Masters back in April should feel like it usually does. There are pins to attack. There are pins to avoid. It doesn't take much to get out of position.

For someone like Sebastian Munoz, who made his debut last year, it could be about starting over.

Munoz is among 13 players who played the Masters for the first time last November when it was postponed seven months because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He had gone to Augusta National once before for a scouting trip after qualifying by winning the Sanderson Farms Championship. Just his luck, that practice round was in November, too.

“I think that's why I played good. I knew what to expect," Munoz said.