Jimmy Walker wins, records fall at Par-3 Contest

 

Gary Player fittingly described the day as “a miracle.”

At almost any point during Wednesday’s Par-3 Contest, loud roars could be heard.

They came from the highest point of the Par-3 Course at No. 2, and they came from the lowest point over Ike’s Pond at No. 9.

All were the result of a record-shattering nine holes-in-one, which obliterated the high of five set in 2002 and matched last year.

When Player’s tee shot found the cup on No. 7, it set two records. At 80, he became the oldest to record a hole-in-one in the contest, passing playing partner Jack Nicklaus’ mark from last year, and he set the record for most aces all-time, with four.

“I played with Jackie last year, and he did it,” Player said. “They said it’s your turn this year.”

On a day full of records and memories made, Jimmy Walker did his part by shooting 8-under-par 19 to run away with the event. The Texan broke the low mark of 20 set by Art Wall Jr. in 1965 and matched by Gay Brewer in 1973.

No Par-3 winner has won the same year’s Masters Tournament, but Walker, who aced No. 2, brushed off the so-called curse by saying he’s not superstitious.

“I know there’s a lot of history that goes along with this, but I think it’s time to buck it,” Walker said. “I think I have a good shot to really play well and have a chance to win. I’m excited to play. I feel good. I’m looking forward to the week.”

The miraculous moments didn’t end with Player’s ace.

Justin Thomas holed out from the tee on No. 4, then playing partner Rickie Fowler matched him.

“It was awesome,” Thomas said. “I don’t know if it’s ever been done, back-to-back shots like that. But to play with two good buddies and make a hole-in-one, and to have my mom on the bag in my first Masters, it’s a bucket-list kind of thing.”

Keegan Bradley and Craig Stadler tied for second behind Walker at 5-under, while five finished four strokes back at 4-under, including 2007 Masters champion Zach Johnson.

PAR-3 WINNERS

YEAR WINNER SCORE

1960 Sam Snead 23

1961 Deane Beman 22

1962 Bruce Crampton 22

1963 George Bayer* 23

1964 Labron Harris Jr. 23

1965 Art Wall Jr. 20

1966 Terry Dill 22

1967 Arnold Palmer* 23

1968 Bob Rosburg 22

1969 Bob Lunn* 23

1970 Harold Henning 21

1971 Dave Stockton* 23

1972 Steve Melnyk 23

1973 Gay Brewer 20

1974 Sam Snead* 23

1975 Isao Aoki* 23

1976 Jay Haas 21

1977 Tom Weiskopf* 23

1978 Lou Graham* 22

1979 Joe Inman Jr. 23

1980 Johnny Miller 23

1981 Isao Aoki 22

1982 Tom Watson* 23

1983 Hale Irwin 22

1984 Tommy Aaron 22

1985 Hubert Green 22

1986 Gary Koch* 23

1987 Ben Crenshaw 22

1988 Tsuneyuki Nakajima 24

1989 Bob Gilder* 22

1990 Raymond Floyd 23

1991 Rocco Mediate* 24

1992 Davis Love III 22

1993 Chip Beck 21

1994 Vijay Singh 22

1995 Hal Sutton* 23

1996 Jay Haas* 22

1997 Sandy Lyle* 22

1998 Sandy Lyle 24

1999 Joe Durant 22

2000 Chris Perry* 23

2001 David Toms 22

2002 Nick Price* 22

2003 (tie) David Toms,
Padraig Harrington 21

2004 Padraig Harrington* 23

2005 Jerry Pate 22

2006 Ben Crane 23

2007 Mark O’Meara 22

2008 Rory Sabbatini 22

2009 Tim Clark 22

2010 Louis Oosthuizen 21

2011 Luke Donald 22

2012 (tie) Jonathan Byrd
Padraig Harrington 22

2013 Ted Potter Jr.* 23

2014 Ryan Moore 21

2015 Kevin Streelman* 22

2016 Jimmy Walker 19

*Won in playoff

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