- The Augusta Chronicle - Monday, April 8, 2013

The relaxed atmosphere of the Masters Tournament’s first practice round manifested itself Monday at the 16th hole.

A number of players skipped balls across the pond alongside the 16th green as large crowds marveled at their skills.

Fred Ducharme, of Cape Girardeau, Mo., was awed by the display.

“It’s extremely difficult to do. These guys make it look so simple,” he said. “And they have fun doing it.”

Loud roars rose from the crowds, with some fans sitting in the stands and others laying on the grassy hillside overlooking the green. Some balls skipped as many as five times before hopping onto the green.

“Being part of the crowd – that’s what’s fun,” said Caro­line Campbell, of Toronto. “The players are having fun, too, goofing around and not being too serious.”

Campbell sat along the gallery ropes for more than an hour watching players skip balls and meeting patrons sitting next to her.

As several golfers played the hole, two turtles sat on the bank. When Mark O’Meara’s ball almost hit the turtles, only one skirted back into the water.

George Chisolm, who is making his first Masters visit, was passing near the 16th green when he stopped to watch the fun.

“We do it by accident,” the Mis­sou­la, Mont., man said about hitting balls into the water. “Things we mess up on, they do on purpose.”