Harrington and Byrd win Masters Par 3 contest

Georgia: Ireland`s Padraig Harrington and American Jonathan Byrd were declared joint winners of the traditional pre-Masters Par 3 competition on Wednesday after a thunderstorm cut short the fun.

Harrington, the first player to win the contest three times, finished level with Byrd at five under-par when play was abandoned at Augusta National.

Dozens of players were unable to finish the light-hearted competition after a storm warning then subsequent rain.

Adam Scott, Webb Simpson and Jerry Pate finished a shot back at four-under, while Phil Mickelson shot three-under. Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy were among the players who skipped the event.

It was the second time Harrington had shared victory, he also tied with David Toms in 2003 when another storm halted play.

Mark Wilson and Denmark`s Thomas Bjorn both delighted the galleries with holes in one, at the fourth and ninth holes respectively.

Winning the contest, in which many players take their children, wives or girlfriends as caddies on the 1,060-yard nine-hole course is considered a curse to winning the Masters.

In the 52 years the event has been staged since Sam Snead won the inaugural contest in 1960, no Par-3 winner has gone on to win the Masters the same year.

Raymond Floyd came within an eyelash of ending the jinx in 1990, but lost the Masters in a playoff with Nick Faldo.

The rain was the second disappointment for spectators on Wednesday after entry to the course was delayed by 40 minutes in the morning while workers cleaned up debris from an overnight storm.

Bureau Report