Streelman now with US Masters 'curse' after winning par-three contest

American Kevin Streelman was a popular man heading into the first round of the 79th Masters after shouldering the ''curse'' of the par-three champion.

Streelman now with US Masters 'curse' after winning par-three contest

American Kevin Streelman was a popular man heading into the first round of the 79th Masters after shouldering the ''curse'' of the par-three champion.

Since the pre-tournament contest started in 1960, nobody has ever become par-three and Masters champion in the same week, a fact which sometimes sees players deliberately not shoot the best score possible.

That was not the case for Streelman however, who beat Camilo Villegas on the third hole of a play-off after the pair had finished tied on five-under-par, with Villegas amazingly making holes-in-one on the fourth and eighth.

Having to deal with the "curse" was placed firmly into perspective thanks to Streelman's 11-year-old caddie Ethan Couch, who has a benign but inoperable brain tumour.

Streelman found Couch via the Make-a-Wish Foundation and invited him to be his caddie in the light-hearted curtain-raiser.

"It was a really fun day, especially to have Ethan with me here," Streelman said. "This isn't about me today. It's about helping him out and showing him a great day."

Six-time Masters champion Jack Nicklaus had earlier holed out with an eight iron from 123 yards on the fourth, his ball landing around 15 feet past the pin and spinning back into the hole.

That took the 75-year-old to three under par, but he would bogey the fifth and hit two balls into the water on the ninth to end his hopes of an unlikely triumph.

"I never had a hole in one at Augusta, in the par three (contest) or on the golf course," Nicklaus said.

"Doing an interview this morning I said all I have to do is go out there, make a hole-in-one and win the par three. I had it three under and then choked."

Tiger Woods took part for the first time since 2004 with his children Charlie and Sam on his bag, the 14-time major winner making sure he could not win the event by getting daughter Sam to tap in for par on the sixth.

Tournament favourite Rory McIlroy had One Direction singer Niall Horan acting as his caddie and Horan proved he should stick to singing after badly hooking a tee shot on the ninth into the water.

McIlroy, who is looking to become the sixth player to complete the career grand slam by winning a first Masters title on Sunday, added: "I wanted to do this because it's a big week for me and just to go into the tournament in a relaxed mood. To spend a couple of hours like this was fun."

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