- Ray Cox The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
It was a most unusual afternoon for Wednesday’s Par 3 tournament at Augusta National Golf Club.
Jimmy Walker won with a record 8-under 19. He becomes the latest to attempt to win the nine-hole grip-and-grin and then the tournament proper in the same year, a feat not previously accomplished in 79 Masters.
The other rare moment came for the threesome of Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth. Thomas and Fowler hit back-to-back hole-in-ones at No. 4. And then Spieth had to hit his tee shot.
“It might been the hardest shot I ever had to hit trying to follow them,” Spieth said.
Fowler got in a good-natured dig at the defending Masters champ: “After two hole-in-ones, you got to man up and hit the shot. Just couldn’t do it.”
There was a Par 3 record nine aces Wednesday, including one by legend Gary Player.
Six-time winner Jack Nicklaus, who famously won in 1986 and then wasn’t recognized by Masters security on Tuesday, on which shots at Augusta National Golf Club are most worrisome:
“The tee shot at 2, second shot at 11, tee shot at 12, tee shot, second shot on 13, second shot on 15. Outside of that, the rest of the golf course is not that difficult, but you’ve still got to watch out for it. As far as giving you fits and concern, second shot at 11 probably. Because it looks so inviting and you know that you really can’t be stupid and hit the ball at the hole. The wind comes across there and all of a sudden it balloons up and gets in the water pretty easy.”
Four-time green jacket winner Tiger Woods, missing the tournament after back surgery, was in attendance at the Champion’s Dinner on Tuesday.
Masters chairman Billy Payne, who also had back surgery in the fourth quarter of 2015, had this to say about Woods:
“Last night, he looked good. He looked better than me. I was delighted. You know, he’s encouraged. I could tell the fire is building back up in his belly, and I suspect Tiger’s going to be back fairly quickly, and I’m looking forward to it.”
Looking for a dark horse? Don’t go much further than England’s Justin Rose.
In 10 previous Masters, including the past five in a row, he has always made the cut and last year finished second. He has won on the PGA Tour once each season for five years in a row, and he’s ranked No. 9 in the official world golf ranking.
Rain is expected overnight from 9 p.m. through 8 a.m. It should be sunny and 62 by 10 a.m., and a crystal clear afternoon with a high around 73. The weekend will be clear but cool, with highs Saturday and Sunday expected to reach only the mid-60s.