In one of the greatest and most fun traditions each year at the Masters, the Par-3 Contest is a time when friends and family of the players and past champions get a change to unwind a bit before the intense focus of four days of Augusta National. And after each fired a 5-under-par 22, Padraig Harrington and Jonathan Byrd were named the co-winners Wednesday as some wet weather ended the event a bit prematurely.
Byrd sank his birdie putt on the final hole to tie Harrington as sirens sounded to suspend play. Phil Mickelson was next in line at 3-under, finishing earlier in the day. No player has won the Par 3 Contest and gone on to claim the Masters the same year.
Harrington also became the first three-time winner of the Par 3 Contest, and been a part of the only two ties ever as well after he tied David Toms in 2003.
Denmark's Thomas Bjorn aced No. 9 and Mark Wilson aced No. 4 to bring the total up to 75 holes-in-one since the contest began in 1960.
The featured group, as it has been for some time now, was legends Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player, who get the honor of teeing off last, but played only a few before suspension of play.
"We've traveled the world together, played everywhere together, and here we are in Augusta at a little Par 3 course," said Nicklaus as the trio gathered at the first tee. "We're still here. And it's kind of fun."
They will be up bright and early tomorrow for the 7:40 a.m. tee time as honorary starters, with Gary Player joining Palmer and Nicklaus for the prestigious honor for the very first time.
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