Georgia - South African Tim Clark aced the ninth hole on Wednesday to win the Masters Par-3 Contest, taking onto his shoulders the winner's curse when it comes to taking the year's first major.
No par-3 Contest winner has ever gone on to capture the Masters in the same year but the 33-year-old from Durban will try to buck tradition after finishing on five-under par 22, two shots ahead of US amateur Jack Newman and two-time Masters champion Jose Maria Olazabal of Spain.
"Why not? I'm not really superstitious," Clark said. "Obviously I'm doing something right this week. Why can't it carry over?"
At the ninth, Clark fired the ball over Ike's Pond at the Par-3 course's 135-yard last hole and saw it land some 15 feet past the hole then slowly roll back into the cup for a hole-in-one to take the winner's crystal pedestal bowl.
"It's just nice to get a win," Clark said. "It's a big thrill. It's a fun tournament for us."
Clark extended a run of South African triumphs at Augusta National Golf Club that includes Rory Sabbatini's victory in last year's Par-3 Contest and Trevor Immelman's 2008 Masters title, the first by a South African in 30 years.
Australian Greg Norman, back in the Masters for a 23rd time, became only the third player to hit a hole-in-one in the contest at the sixth hole, his wife Chris Evert on hand to enjoy the fun while serving as caddie.
South African Gary Player, on the eve of his record 52nd and final Masters start at age 73, followed a tee shot into the water on the ninth with a second try off the tee that went into the hole for a par.
Playing partners Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer beamed smiles at their former foe and shook his hand.