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Storms hit Augusta

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AUGUSTA — The clean-up at Augusta golf course continued on Wednesday after an overnight storm downed trees and washed out bunkers.

The area was hit with thunder, lightning, heavy rain and hail overnight while gusty winds sent twigs and pine needles on to the course that will play host to the year’s first major. Players and spectators were only allowed onto the course following a 40-minute delay.

“We lost several trees around the golf course, none of which were significant in the context that they will impact the competition,” said Augusta National chairman Billy Payne.

“Debris was all around; took hours and hours, and the clean-up remains ongoing.We had 1,4 inches of rain on the course. We have currently extremely wet conditions. We had our restroom at number 16 tee struck by a falling tree with significant damage.
We hope to have it rebuilt and up and running by the end of the day,” said Payne. “Several of our bunkers were completely washed out. We expect them to be fully restored to competitive conditions by the end of the day.”

The traditional warm-up to the Masters, the par-three competition, went ahead on schedule.Padraig Harrington became the first player to win the par-three tournament at Augusta three times. However, just like when he first won in 2003 when he shared the title with David Toms, Harrington was joint winner — this time with Jonathan Byrd — after the pair returned five-under-par 22 over nine holes. Moreover, the competition remained incomplete as the threat of lightning forced play to be abandoned at around 3:30pm local time with many players still on the course.What it means again, though, is that Harrington will have to beat a jinx to become Masters champion on Sunday.— Skysports

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