AUGUSTA, Ga. – Kevin Streelman won the Par 3 Contest, Tiger Woods returned to the Wednesday tradition for the first time since 2004, but it was Jack Nicklaus who stole the show.
Playing alongside Gary Player and Ben Crenshaw, the only thing remaining on the six-time Masters champion’s Augusta National to-do list was to make a hole-in-one and win the Par 3.
One out of two isn’t bad.
On the 130-yard fourth hole Nicklaus spun his 8-iron tee shot down a slope and into the hole for one of five aces at this year’s Par 3 Contest.
“It’s funny, I had an interview this morning and I said, ‘Well, all I’ve got to do is go out and win the Par 3 and make a hole-in-one. I had it to 3 under for the Par 3 and then choked,” Nicklaus said.
Instead, Nicklaus was awarded a crystal vase for his ace, along with Camilo Villegas who became the fourth player to record two holes-in-one in the Par 3 Contest.
Villegas, who finished tied with Streelman at 5 under par but lost a playoff for the title, holed out a pitching wedge at the fourth hole and a 54-degree wedge at No. 8.
“I made a few hole-in-ones, but it's pretty special to make them here,” Villegas said.
Trevor Immelman aced the fifth hole and amateur Matias Dominguez made a hole-in-one at No. 4.
Woods, who made an ace the last time he played the Par 3 in 2004, had his children, Sam and Charlie, caddying for him, didn’t turn in a score.
“We had an absolutely great time. These were memories for a lifetime,” Woods said.
Streelman’s victory was particularly emotional. For the Par 3 Contest he had 11-year-old Ethan Couch caddie for him. Couch had surgery to remove a brain tumor two years ago and said his greatest wish was to attend the Masters.
Streelman went one better, enlisting Couch to caddie for him in the Par 3.
“There are things a lot more important than golf. I had a daughter a year and a half ago and we had to spend a little time in the NICU and it changes your life. It changes your perspective,” Streelman told ESPN after winning on the third playoff hole. “As soon as I won the Travelers Championship I thought about getting back and helping out a friend who has had a tough go.”
Par 3 Contest nearest the flagstick
No. 1: Steve Jones, 8 inches
No. 2: Matias Dominguez, 10 inches
No. 3: James Hahn, 18 inches
No. 4: Jack Nicklaus, Camilo Dominguez, Matias Dominguez, hole-in-one
No. 5: Trevor Immelman, hole-in-one
No. 6: Kevin Streelman, hole-in-one
No. 7: Richard L. Siderowf, 71 inches
No. 8: Camilo Villegas, hole-in-one
No. 9: Cameron Tringale, 20 inches