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Thunderstorms cancel Masters practise

Thousands of fans were turned away from the gates of Augusta National Golf Club on Monday when heavy thunderstorms forced officials to postpone practice rounds.

The gates to the course that hosts the Masters were never opened, but some fans milled outside for several hours before being told they would not be allowed inside.

It was the first time in 20 years that the gates were not opened on a scheduled practice or play day. The last time was April 8, 1983.

A series of thunderstorms went through Augusta overnight, and Monday morning nearly an inch of rain left the area soaked. The rain was accompanied by lightning, and forecasters said more was expected.

"We are disappointed that our patrons could not enjoy today's practice round," Augusta National Golf Club chairman Hootie Johnson said. "However, our first concern must be safety."

Masters officials said fans will be sent refunds in May for their unused tickets and given preference to buy practice tickets for next year.


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