Bunker Mentality

Shawn Stefani registers stunning hole-in-one at Merion

Bunker Mentality

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Shawn Stefani put a star on what had been a so-so US Open performance when he registered the first ace of the championship by holing out at the 213-yard, par-three 17th on Sunday.

Even for an ace, it was a stunning hole-out.

The 31-year-old Texan landed his four-iron tee shot in the left rough, saw it bounce out, hop on the green and slowly roll and curl some 60 feet before trickling into the cup.

Stefani entered the final round with a score better than just two players among the 73 that made the cut but made his mark with the 43rd hole-in-one shot in 113 US Opens and the first he ever posted in a tournament.

Stefani bounded with glee at the tee, doing a celebration dance with his caddie in stark contrast to the mood following his third-round 85 that included a bogey at 17 on Saturday.

"I didn't know what to do but jump up-and-down for joy," said Stefani, who has missed eight cuts this season on the PGA Tour and qualified for the Open at the Memphis sectional.

Stefani delighted fans at 17 by kissing the ground where the ball began its unlikely path to the cup.

"Once it did kick, it kept rolling and I was like, well this could be good," he said.
"And the fans stood up and then it kept getting closer and closer and then when it went in, I was just super excited because it's the first hole-in-one I've ever had in a tournament."

The only previous ace for Stefani came when he was 13.

After a bogey at the 18th, he signed for a one-under-par 69 on a muggy, overcast day at Merion for a 19-over total of 299.

Reuters

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