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Friday, April 1, 2011
1935 Masters: The Squire's magical shot


How do we know when a golf shot is truly historic, when it will forever live in the hearts and minds of the fans? When it has a name.

Gene Sarazen's is known as "the shot heard 'round the world."

Seventy-six years after Sarazen holed a 4-wood from 235 yards for double-eagle on the 15th hole in the final round of the 1935 Masters, it endures as one of the single greatest shots in the history of the game.

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"I took my stance with my 4-wood and rode into the shot with every ounce of strength and timing I could muster," he later wrote in his autobiography, "Thirty Years of Championship Golf." "The split second I hit the ball I knew it would carry the pond. It tore for the flag on a very low trajectory, no more than 30 feet in the air."

Although he didn't see the ball go into the hole, he could tell by the gallery's reaction -- all 23 members, he later estimated -- that something special had just occurred.

With one swing, Sarazen -- born Eugenio Saraceni and nicknamed "The Squire" -- erased a three-stroke deficit, tying leader Craig Wood with three holes to play. Unlikely? That's what those at the course writing out the winner's check believed, too, as they had already scrawled Wood's name on the $1,500 first-place prize.

Instead, the two men remained deadlocked through 72 holes, forcing the tournament's first and only 36-hole playoff. While Sarazen failed to produce another shot worthy of worldwide remembrance, he did post scores of 71-73 to defeat Wood by five strokes, winning the second edition of the Masters in historic fashion.

For an interactive timeline of classic moments in Masters history, check out Masters.com.

Jason Sobel covers golf for ESPN.com. He can be reached at Jason.Sobel@espn.com.