With severe storms bearing down on Augusta National, the club has been shut down for the second time this week.

Masters officials suspended play today, cutting short the final afternoon of practice before the start of the tournament as well as the popular Par 3 Contest.

It is the first time since its inception in 1960, that the Par 3 Contest has been cancelled.

Played was abandoned after 55 minutes. Former champion Mike Weir and Brendan Steele were tied for the lead at the time on three-under par.

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Fans were ordered to leave the course as line of dangerous storms swept across the Deep South, sparking tornado warnings in Georgia and neighboring South Carolina.

Augusta National was also forced to close Tuesday NZT because of heavy rains.

The forecast is more promising through the rest of the week, though high winds Friday and Saturday could make the playing conditions challenging.

Sunny weather is expected for the final two rounds.