Trend continues of par-3 winner not winning Masters
AUGUSTA, Georgia -- The "Par-3 Jinx" is assured of lasting another year.
Jerry Pate became the first honorary invitee to win the par-3 tournament at Augusta National on Wednesday with a 5-under, the highlight of an always-entertaining event that featured holes-in-one by Ben Crenshaw, Raymond Floyd and amateur Luke List.
"I've been coming here for 31 years and almost all the years I've competed in the par-3," Pate said. "I've come real close a couple of times but have never been fortunate enough to win the tournament."
Pate, the 1976 U.S. Open champion, took part in the event as one of the non-competing invitees to the Masters. Anyone who has won a U.S. Open, British Open, PGA Championship, U.S. Amateur or British Amateur can attend the Masters, play practice rounds and take part in the lighthearted tournament held on the club's nine-hole, par-3 course.
According to Augusta folklore, a victory in the par-3 competition is the kiss of death to Masters title hopes.
No one has ever won the par-3 and then gone on to slip into the green jacket four days later.
Three-time champion Tiger Woods and last year's runner-up Ernie Els both decided against tempting fate and skipped this year's event.
Irishman Padraig Harrington, rated one of the favorites to win his first major, had no such reservations as he teed it up in the brilliant Georgia sunshine looking for a third consecutive par-3 victory.
Crenshaw had his hole-in-one with a sand wedge at the 70-yard second.
"It's a trip down memory lane to play here," Crenshaw said. "I did have a hole-in-one on past par-3 the year I won; maybe that's a good omen. I'd love to make the cut."
List holed out from the tee on No. 7 with a sand wedge and 1976 Masters champion Raymond Floyd aced No. 9.
"Today has just been a blast," List said. "To do it on this stage is just awesome. It hit once and went right in. I'm having such a great time now, it's been a blast, the whole week."
Floyd put the perfect cap on his round and talked about Augusta as the perfect setting for golf.
"I hit it real close, about a foot past, and it spun back in," Floyd said. "It was a real nice way to finish the day."
Crenshaw finished one stroke behind Pate.
Information from The Associated Press, SportsTicker and Reuters was used in this report.