Devon Bling knew the statistic — no one has won the par-three tournament at Augusta National and the Masters in the same year — but the UCLA student still felt those competitive juices flowing Wednesday afternoon.
The highlight for Bling was his hole in one on the 113-yard seventh hole of the par-three course, using a sand wedge to hit over the pin, then draw the ball back about seven yards and into the cup.
Bling, 19, who qualified for the Masters with a runner-up finish in the U.S. Amateur last August, finished in a three-way tie for third at four-under with Bubba Watson and Martin Kaymer.
Matt Wallace wound up edging Sandy Lyle after three holes of sudden death to win the annual contest, which takes place on the eve of the opening round of the Masters.
“Historically, the winner never wins the tournament, but I was trying to make the putt,” said Bling, who bogeyed the last hole to fall one stroke shy of making a playoffs. “Either way, it was win for me. I had the greatest time of my life, and it couldn’t have been more memorable.”
He will never forget the advice he got, either.
“A member told me to hit it 122 yards at the middle of the building in the back, to the right-center of the green,” said Bling, who had his 17-year-old brother, Dillon, as his caddie. “So I took his word for it. I hit it 120 yards right on that line, with a little spin, and it went right in. I couldn’t see it because there were shadows around it. But everybody went ecstatic, and I did too.”
His first word to the Augusta member who gave him the advice.
Said Bling: “I told him, ‘That was a great number.’ ”