Golf-Fowler wins Masters Par-3 Contest, now targets Green Jacket

By Thomson Reuters Apr 10, 2024 | 5:28 PM

By Frank Pingue

AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) – Rickie Fowler shrugged off the spectre of the Masters Par-3 Contest jinx on Wednesday by winning the light-hearted nine-hole event at Augusta National Golf Club on the eve of the year’s first major championship.

Fowler, with his wife Allison as his caddie and young daughter Maya in tow, won the event that has long been a highlight of Masters week with a five-under-par 22 on the 1,090-yard course played over DeSoto Springs and Ike’s Pond.

“The Par-3 contest is something special. You know, tradition of the Masters and being able to go out there, and now being able to spend with it my family,” said Fowler.

“Been around plenty of the little kids over the years but a little different when we have our own out there.”

Austria’s Sepp Straka, American J. T. Poston, and Mexico’s Santiago de la Fuente finished two strokes back and in a three-way tie for second place.

First played in 1960 and won by Sam Snead, no Par-3 Contest winner has won the Masters the same year as his short-course victory, which has only further ingrained the idea of a supposed jinx put on the event’s winners.

But Fowler, one of the more successful golfers yet to win a major and who regained his form last year, did not seem bothered by the idea as he now shifts his focus on upgrading the crystal trophy he won for a Green Jacket.

“Great way to start — I guess not start of the week; been working at it the last few days,” said Fowler.

Fowler triumphed in Detroit last July to collect his sixth career PGA Tour win and snap a four-year winless drought. He also finished in a share of fifth place at the 2023 U.S. Open, qualified for the Tour Championship for the first time since 2019 and represented the United States in his fifth Ryder Cup.

This week the 35-year-old Fowler is making his 11th Masters appearance and first since 2020. Fowler has top 12s in five of his past seven starts at Augusta National, including runner-up in 2018.

“It’s been kind of long time coming to get back to here. Special place. One of my favourites,” said Fowler. “I’m looking forward to getting started tomorrow.”

Fowler is scheduled to set out at 10:06 a.m. ET (1406 GMT) on Thursday in a group with Patrick Cantlay and Australia’s Min Woo Lee.

(Reporting by Frank Pingue; Editing by Christian Radnedge)