By Tony Jimenez
AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) - American Ryan Moore won the event that no one wants to win on Wednesday when he triumphed in the annual eve-of-Masters par-three contest.
In the 54 years the event has been staged since Sam Snead won the inaugural competition in 1960, no par-three winner has gone on to emerge victorious at the Masters in the same year.
Raymond Floyd came within an eyelash of ending the jinx in 1990 but lost to Nick Faldo in a playoff.
"I'm not afraid of it," Moore told reporters after posting a six-under score of 21 to lift the crystal trophy on a sun-drenched day at Augusta National. "Someone has got to break that curse at some point in time so hopefully it's me.
"Who knows? I might go and shoot eight-under or something, make a couple of holes-in-one."
World number 33 Moore almost had an ace at the fourth hole on Wednesday when his tee shot finished six inches from the cup.
"I had some nice tap-ins and close ones. I missed a couple of six-footers too," said the 31-year-old.
Moore is a triple winner on the PGA Tour and is about to make his sixth appearance in the Masters. His best result came in 2005 when he finished tied 13th and was the low amateur.
The fun-filled nine-hole event, where players are allowed to use friends and family as caddies, is a real hit with the spectators.
The loudest roars were reserved for veterans Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player, who played in the same three-ball, although there were holes-in-one for Mark O'Meara, Matt Jones and Stewart Alexander.
World number nine Rory McIlroy, the 12-1 joint favorite for the Masters along with defending champion Adam Scott, also entered into the spirit of the occasion.
The Northern Irishman allowed fiancee Caroline Wozniacki to take one of his putts and the Danish tennis player, sporting tinted deep pink locks, broke into a wide grin when she holed out from 25 feet.
(Editing by Gene Cherry)