<
>

Bubba Watson makes ace on No. 16

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Perhaps he would have preferred to wait a day or two, but Bubba Watson had something else to remember about Augusta National after making a hole-in-one Wednesday during a practice round on the day before he begins defense of his Masters title.

Watson hit a 9-iron from 160 yards at the par-3 16th, a hole that has been aced 15 times in Masters history, including twice last year.

"It was pretty sweet," said Scott Piercy, who played with Watson. "He flagged it. Kind of gave it the lean, 'Go in.' ... Arms in the air, big smile."

There was little cheering around the tee box because it was difficult to see the ball go in the hole.

"He hit it to about 3 feet, but you couldn't see it from the tee," said Watson's caddie, Ted Scott. "Thought this might have a chance."

Watson did not stop to talk about it, saying only the club and distance and that it was his third hole in one.

He begins defense of his title at 10:30 a.m. Thursday with Ian Poulter and U.S. Amateur champion Steve Fox in his group.

"Bubba's playing well," Piercy said. "He's getting some momentum."

Bo Van Pelt and Adam Scott made holes-in-one in last year's tournament at the 16th. There have been three at No. 12, four at No. 6 and just one at No. 4, by Jeff Sluman in 1992.