Streelman wins Par 3 Contest in playoff
Young fan's wish comes true while caddying for champion
April 08, 2015
By Staff, PGATOUR.COM
- April 08, 2015
- Kevin Streelman and 13-year-old caddie Ethan Couch line up a putt Wednesday at the Par 3 Contest. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
The Par 3 Contest is one of the things that make the Masters unique. This year’s edition of the tournament-eve tradition was especially noteworthy, as records were matched, legends were celebrated and a young man got a special thrill.
Ethan Couch, 13, has an inoperable brain tumor and is attending the Masters via the Make-A-Wish Foundation, according to a report on ESPN.com. Couch isn’t just at the tournament as a patron, though. He served as Kevin Streelman’s caddie Wednesday.
Streelman won the Par 3 Contest in a three-hole playoff with Camilo Villegas, who made two holes-in-one. They tied at 5-under 22.
“This isn't about me today,” Streelman said. “It's about helping (Ethan) out and showing him a great day.”
It’s already been a good week for Streelman. His alma mater, Duke, won the NCAA basketball title Monday. There’s just one downside for Streelman. The winner of the Par 3 Contest has never won the Masters in the same week.
Villegas made holes-in-one on Nos. 4 and 8. He used a pitching wedge on the first ace, then made the second one with a 54-degree wedge. He said he had 14 aces before Wednesday’s pair.
“I made a few hole-in-ones, but it's pretty special to make them here,” Villegas said.
There were five holes-in-one Wednesday, tying the record set in 2002 for aces in one day. There have been 85 holes-in-one in the competition, which started in 1960.
Amateur Matias Dominguez, who is in the field after winning the inaugural Latin America Amateur Championship, and former Masters champions Trevor Immelman and Jack Nicklaus also made aces Wednesday.
NICKLAUS MAKES ACE: Jack Nicklaus has won six Masters, but there’s one thing he’d never done at Augusta National before Wednesday: make a hole-in-one.
That changed when he arrived at the 130-yard fourth hole. Nicklaus hit an 8-iron into the hole for his first hole-in-one on the property, in either the Par 3 or the tournament. He even called the ace in an interview earlier in the day.
“I never had a hole-in-one at Augusta,” Nicklaus said. “It's funny, I had an interview this morning, and I said, ‘Well, all I've got to do is go out and win the Par 3 and make a hole-and-one,’ and I make a hole-in-one.”
Rory McIlroy said he’s seen Nicklaus preparing for the Par 3 Contest on the driving range back at their home course in Jupiter, Florida.
“I'm fortunate that I get to spend a little time around Jack, and I saw him practicing for this day at the Bear’s Club the last couple of weeks down on Florida and he was taking it pretty seriously,” McIlroy said. “He didn't want to let himself down and obviously today he didn't.”
MCILROY'S CADDIE MORE FAMOUS?: McIlroy may be the No. 1 player in the Official World Golf Ranking, but he wasn’t the most famous player in his group Wednesday. McIlroy’s caddie on Wednesday, Niall Horan, has approximately 20 million more Twitter followers than McIlroy. Horan is a member of the boy band One Direction.
McIlroy didn’t post a score Wednesday. He let Horan hit the tee shot on No. 9. Horan dumped it in the water short and left of the green. The day gave McIlroy a chance to relax before he attempts to complete the career Grand Slam.
“This is what it’s all about, having a little fun before the tournament,” McIlroy said. “To come out and spend a couple hours like this was important.”
WOODS TAKES PART IN CONTEST: Tiger Woods’ appearance in the Par 3 Contest was his first since 2004. It was his first time playing alongside his children, Sam and Charlie. Woods’ girlfriend Lindsey Vonn also walked with the group. Woods didn’t post a score Wednesday because his children putt out on several holes.
“We had an absolutely great time,” Woods said. “These were memories for a lifetime.”
Here are the shots that were closest to the pin on each hole during Wednesday's Par 3 Contest:
Hole Player Inches 1 Steve Jones 8 2 Matias Dominguez 10 3 James Hahn 18 4 Jack Nicklaus, Camilo Villegas, Matias Dominguez Ace 5 Trevor Immelman Ace 6 Kevin Streelman 31 7 Dick Siderowf 71 8 Camilo Villegas Ace 9 Cameron Tringale 21
I'll always have memories of my pop at Augusta and now Sam & Charlie. An amazing day.— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) April 8, 2015
I look forward to this day all year. The Masters is a competition but today is a celebration. Memories I will cherish pic.twitter.com/Z5Q3HgLNVv— Webb Simpson (@webbsimpson1) April 8, 2015