Ted Potter Jr. didn’t care about the so-called Par-3 Contest jinx.
In his first Masters appearance, Potter worked his magic, sinking birdies on Nos. 8 and 9 in sudden death, beating Matt Kuchar and Phil Mickelson in a two-hole playoff to hoist the crystal trophy.
“The first time to step foot over here on the Par-3 Contest and the first time ever playing it and winning it is pretty special,” Potter said.
He was aware that no winner of the Par-3 has won the Masters in the same week, but that didn’t deter him.
“I don’t care about the curse saying you can’t win,” he said. “Just winning something here makes my week already.”
Potter birdied the final three holes in regulation to finish at 4-under with the rest of the playoff group. Ernie Els and Nick Watney, who aced No. 9, also finished at 4-under but did not participate in the playoff.
Kuchar almost holed out on No. 8, leaving himself a three-foot birdie try while Potter faced a 40-footer from the edge of the green. When Potter rolled it in and Kuchar tapped in, Mickelson was eliminated.
On No. 9, Kuchar’s 15-footer slid right while Potter was dead-center with his 12-foot birdie putt.
Bo Van Pelt had a chance to win in regulation with a one-shot lead entering No. 9, but let his daughter Olivia putt for him and didn’t officially finish. Two years ago, his son Trace got to putt at the end of the Par-3, and this year Olivia wanted to, Van Pelt said.
He wasn’t upset about not winning the contest.
“I birdied the first four and I said, well, I’ll see how many I get in a row,” Van Pelt said. “If I would’ve got to six, I probably would have tried to finish it out because I think seven was the lowest of all time. So once I couldn’t do that then it was just to have fun there at the end.”
Along with Watney, 61-year-old Ben Crenshaw had a hole-in-one, his coming on No. 7. It was his 21st ace and his second on the hole.
“You try to throw it up to the right of the hole, and it just came down,” Crenshaw said.