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Masters Par-3 contest cancelled for the first time

Golf

AUGUSTA, Georgia – The traditional US Masters Par-3 contest was called off on Wednesday for the first time in its 57-year history, with heavy storms forecast in the Augusta area.

Twenty-six players started their rounds in the curtain-raiser event for the year’s first major, which begins on Thursday.

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Louis Oosthuizen walks to the seventh green with his daughters Jana (right) and Sophia during the Par-3 contest at the Masters on Wednesday. Photo: Chris Carlson, APFans leave Augusta National for a weather warning on Wednesday. Photo: Charlie Riedel, AP

“The safety of everyone on our grounds was the determining factor in the decision to close the course and cancel the Par-3 contest,” Augusta National chairman Billy Payne said in a statement.

“We share in the disappointment of our patrons, but the safety of everyone on our grounds is always our primary concern.”

Former Masters champion Mike Weir of Canada fired a hole-in-one and moved joint top of the leaderboard on 3-under-par after seven holes before organisers brought the players off the course.

Monday’s practice session was also called off, and more heavy rain is forecast overnight.

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