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GOLFING BUDDY: Before Bubba Watson won the Masters, he played in the Par 3 tournament with Denny Hamlin as his caddie.

The PGA Tour player and NASCAR driver became friends after meeting at Phoenix two years ago. Their agents knew each other, and hooked the two up to play nine holes.

“That’s how I met him and then he came to the race that weekend,” Hamlin said. “Ever since then, we just kind of kept in touch and when our paths cross, we link up and do stuff.”

Watson won the Masters on the second playoff hole, with a curving shot out of the pine needles onto the green.

“That trick shot I taught him on Wednesday paid off on Sunday,” Hamlin said. “A great win at the end was great for him and obviously good for me and my storytelling. It’s not too often you get to caddie for the 2012 Masters champ.”


SPARKPLUGS: After winning the Nationwide Series race at Texas on Friday night, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was in Arlington, about 30 miles away, helping storm victims clear debris. Tornadoes hit the area earlier this month. Trevor Bayne, his Nationwide teammate who raced in the Sprint Cup race Saturday night, also was helping. … A 17-year-old NASACAR fan limited in his physical abilities because of cerebral palsy and a severe case of scoliosis got to go to his first race, thanks to classmates and Texas Motor Speedway officials. Students at Mansfield (Texas) Legacy High School organized a car wash fundraiser to send Clinton Foster to Saturday night’s race and purchase him a new motorized wheelchair. TMS provided tickets and passes to the Sprint Cup drivers meeting, where Foster got to meet his favorite driver, Dale Earnhardt. Jr. … While Foreigner performed a prerace concert on the frontstretch, there were sumo wrestlers and MMA-like fighters in a garage area where a party for season-ticket holders was being held.