Sunday 20 August 2017

Storm stops Par 3 contest

A sign advises that approaching weather has suspended play during Wednesday practice rounds for the 2017 Masters. Photo: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
A sign advises that approaching weather has suspended play during Wednesday practice rounds for the 2017 Masters. Photo: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Bad weather forced the traditional par-three contest on the eve of Masters to be cancelled yesterday for the first time ever.

Although a break in the weather allowed the contest to start at 12:30pm local time, another band of storms soon approached Augusta National and saw play abandoned for the day 55 minutes later.

Former champion Mike Weir and Brendan Steele were tied for the lead at the time on three under par.

Jimmy Walker set a record of eight under par in victory 12 months ago and finished tied 29th in the tournament proper, ensuring the 'curse' remained intact. Since the contest started in 1960, nobody has ever become par-three and Masters champion in the same week.

Augusta National chairman Billy Payne said: "The safety of everyone on our grounds was the determining factor in our decision to close the course and cancel the par-three contest. We share in the disappointment of our patrons."

Tyrrell Hatton's experience of Augusta National might have been limited to a video game until recently, but the World No 15 is already in possession of a green jacket of the type traditionally presented to the Masters champion.

Hatton's version came from winning a competition as a seven-year-old, and although he will have to defy the odds to win the real thing on his debut, the 25-year-old can be justifiably optimistic.

After claiming his first title in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship last year and narrowly missing out on another in the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Hatton has not finished worse than 13th in five strokeplay events in 2017

"You earn your place here," he said. "The best players in the world get in, so even as rookies you can win golf tournaments. I'll be trying my best this week to do that."

Irish Independent

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