The Loop

Thompson, Kraft beat Fowler in Red Bull Skee Ball Challenge

April 02, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- It's become a pre-major championship tradition for Rickie Fowler, taking on various shot-making challenges in conjunction with promotional initiatives by one of his sponsors, Red Bull.

On Monday, about a mile from Augusta National Golf Club, Fowler was joined by fellow Red Bull spokesperson Lexi Thompson, the 17-year-old LPGA sensation, and reigning U.S. Amateur champion Kelly Kraft in an unusual contest in which the trio hit iron shots at a giant Skee Ball target. The threesome hit shots from a floating tee area in the middle of Lake Olmstead to the target about 165 yards away.

"It's really just a fun kind of thing to kick off the week," said Fowler, who didn't win the contest, but hit the most memorable shot, picking a golf ball off the top of a can of Red Bull and reaching the target. Fowler scored 500 points with 13 shots while Thompson and Kraft each had 1,100 points. Kraft managed the only 1,000-point shot with a 5-iron that skipped off the front of the target. Red Bull will donate $5,000 to the charities of their choice for the win.

"That's just not as easy as it looks with the tee area floating around and bouncing and changing your alignment," Thompson said with a laugh.

About 300 people watched the contest from the shores of Lake Olmstead behind the Julian Smith Casino.

Fowler said he wasn't disappointed by the result with the Masters just three days away. "I feel like I could have won here, but it would have hurt my chances in the Par-3 contest, and I didn't need that," he said, grinning. Of course, no winner of the Par-3 Tournament has ever gone on to win the Masters title the same week.

-- Dave Shedloski