Use Code BALT69 for a $69 Ticket to One Day University on July 9

Wild Masters par-3 contest features thrill of victory, agony of de-feet

A man born in the 1940s birdied six of the nine holes, a grandson of Jack Nicklaus made an ace wearing a caddie jumpsuit and a Masters first-timer might have dislocated an ankle celebrating a hole-in-one.

Other than that, not much happened Wednesday in the par-3 contest.

Where to start?

Sam Snead had been the event’s grand champion, winning in 1974 at age 61. Tom Watson, who won Wednesday, is 68.

“We are lucky to play a game that we can play into our later age,” Watson said. “There's no other sport you can do this. And it's proven anyone can win. Watch out this week for those older guys. You’ve got (Phil) Mickelson, you’ve got Tiger (Woods); see if they may make some noise.”

Nicklaus, 78, also drew some roars on the par-3 course with a spectacular 4-under 23.

Think it’s easy to go low on the pitch-and-putt course? Bryson DeChambeau, who won the 2017 John Deere Classic, shot 5 over, and Kevin Kisner, a favorite of bettors looking for a dark horse, somehow shot an 11-over 38.

“It was a marvelous day,” said Gary Player, 82, who rounded out the Watson-Nicklaus threesome with a 2-under 25 for a combined 12-under total.

Gary Nicklaus Jr., caddying for his grandfather, aced the 135-yard ninth hole, using a 47-degree wedge.

Player coaxed it in by saying: “You’re gonna like that … you’re gonna like that.”

“I was thinking no way, no way, no way,” Nicklaus Jr. said. “I saw it fall and couldn’t believe it.”

His grandfather’s reaction: “For him to get a hole-in-one at the biggest venue in the world … wow.”

Another “wow” moment came when Tony Finau, the 6-foot-4 bomber from Salt Lake City, jarred his tee shot on the 115-yard seventh.

He celebrated as if scoring a goal in the World Cup — jogging down the fairway and then running backward. His left foot hit a depression, and his ankle gave way as he crumpled to the ground. Then he appeared to snap it back into place.

He did manage to walk off the course, saying only, “I’m going to get it checked out,” as he headed into the clubhouse.

It begs the question: Who would have the more shocking comeback — Finau or Woods?

An incorrect scorecard, an inappropriate reaction: Why 1968 Masters champ Bob Goalby never got the credit he deserved »

So you want to buy a Masters ticket from a broker? Here’s what you should know »

Could it be, a Tiger Woods-Phil Mickelson bromance? »

Copyright © 2019, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad
79°