Sunday 19 November 2017

Short Chips

GRAEME McDOWELL aced the 114-yard ninth and final hole in yesterday's Masters Par-3 Contest, then prayed hard two-under par wouldn't win!

"I don't think I've ever been leader in the clubhouse hoping that someone comes from behind and beats me," quipped McDowell, referring to a Par-3 hoodoo which dictates that Wednesday's winner never dons the Green Jacket on Sunday.

McDowell's wish was granted as Italian amateur Matteo Manassero, at 16 the youngest competitor in Masters history, came home in four-under before Louis Oosthuizen bettered that with a 21 shot round of six under par.

Europe's top-finisher (in 17th) at last year's Masters, McDowell was last to register for this year's tournament on Tuesday, but hopes to be last man standing come Sunday.

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ASTONISHING is the only word to describe the plush new $12m 400-yard practice range which suddenly appeared this year at Augusta National on an 18-acre site which used to be occupied by the main Masters car park.

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RORY McILROY certainly is making a big impact with the legends of golf. After being invited to lunch with Jack Nicklaus before last month's Honda Classic, the Holywood youngster arranged a practice round with Tom Watson at Augusta National this week.

The date was struck during the Dubai Desert Classic.

Though they played just nine holes together on Tuesday before McIlroy headed for an afternoon session with mind coach Dr Bob Rotella, Watson was impressed enough by the youngster to say: "He's looking good. He's driving the ball well and he's hitting a lot of good shots. He's got the game. He can win at Augusta."

Irish Independent

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