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Donald Wins Par 3 Contest


England's Luke Donald fired a 5-under 22 to win the annual Par 3 Contest at the Masters. Craig Stadler got the only hole-in-one - on the first hole - Wednesday, the 73rd ace in the history of the fun event. Ray Floyd, Masters' winner in 1976, finished as the runner-up with a 23.

The featured group was Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player. The three legends bantered throughout the televised event, and on one hole Nicklaus bet Palmer that his caddie could hit it closer to the hole (he didn't).

"It wasn't much competition today, because none of us played very well," Nicklaus said. "But we always have a good time kidding each other about it."

"Oh, it was wonderful," Palmer remarked later. "The day's beautiful, the golf was good. We didn't play well, but we had fun."

Said Player: "They played nicely, and we had a great time. We have always been very competitive, but with great respect for each other. We traveled all over the world playing golf and promoting it. Not getting large sums of money like these young guys do today, but it's been a great experience."

Not everyone is excited to triumph in the Par 3 Contest as no winner has ever gone on to don a green jacket in the same week. Donald didn't comment on that curse, but did say playing the event could only help prepare him for the tournament proper, which starts Thursday.

"Some short shots that you hit out here are similar to the course," Donald said, "so it's partly why I play some years. I think that it's good preparation. If you're hitting wedges close it's only a good thing."

After he found out Donald was leading, fellow Brit Lee Westwood said, "I said 'Oh, poor Luke.' "

Other who came close to holing out tee shots were Stewart Cink, who just lipped out on the ninth hole; Italy's Francesco Molinari's "drive" stopped just four inches from the cup on the sixth; and former Masters champion Mike Weir of Canada was a foot away from an ace on No. 7.

Zach Johnson's caddie for the Par 3 Contest was tennis great Andy Roddick. "He gave me some great yardages early on and then he got tired," kidded Johnson, who won the Masters in 2007. "We had a great day. We birdied the first three holes and went from there and it was fun. So we had a great time."

The well-attended event once again saw the young children of the players donning the traditional all-white uniform of Augusta National's caddies and skittering around the greens.

For all the scores, visit http://www.masters.com/en_US/scores/par3contest/index.html.