The reports of the 13th hole’s demise were greatly exaggerated.

For this year’s Masters, Augusta National built a new tee box on No. 13, extending the famous par 5 from 510 to 545 yards. Many of the pre-tournament reviews from players were critical (politely so, given the setting).

“I think the club took an amazing risk-reward hole and turned it into a three-shotter for the majority of the field,” said Tommy Fleetwood. In the first round, Fleetwood went for the 13th green in two with a fairway wood.

“Most likely, I’ll be laying up all four days,” said Dustin Johnson. His drive on No. 13 traveled 320 yards, hugging the left tree line and leaving him 205 in. He didn’t lay up.

You know who else went for the green in two? Zach Johnson.

In round one, 31 out of 86 players laid up. Only 16 laid up from the fairway.

A couple of caveats here:

1. Conditions were calm on Thursday

2. The greens were relatively soft, giving players unusual stopping power even with long clubs

No doubt we’ll see more layups on No. 13 if Augusta gets the expected rain and 10-15 mph

winds this weekend. Still, today showed that the additional 35 yards of length didn’t ruin the hole’s strategic value.

63% of the field went for the green in two, and 36% of second shots held the green. Three players attempted to reach the green from the pine straw right of the fairway. Eight approaches landed in the tributary of Rae’s Creek.

Since the Masters doesn’t make detailed stats public, I can’t easily compare these numbers to last year’s. What I can tell you, however, is that watching the action on No. 13 wasn’t dull. Players hit long irons, hybrids, fairway woods—clubs that we haven’t seen very often on the hole in recent years.

On Sunday, for the first time in a long while, we may get to see a leader make a difficult decision in the 13th fairway. If the price of that pleasure is a little early-week grumbling from the pros, so be it.