Stefani scores ace; Woods matches worst
Shawn Stefani lost track of the ball as soon it rocketed off his 4-iron.
A roaring U.S. Open gallery tracked it for him.
“Go! Go! Go! Go!”
It did Sunday when Stefani aced the 17th hole, making him the first golfer to make a hole-in-one at any U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club, which is hosting the major for the fifth time.
“When the crowd went crazy, I knew it went in,” he said.
His shot bounced out of the rough and rolled some 50 feet toward the pin before falling in the cup.
Tiger Woods, on the other hand, did not have such a memorable day.
Woods went out-of-bounds on his second tee shot of the final round at Merion and closed with a 4-over 74. That gave him his worst 72-hole score as a pro in the U.S. Open, and it tied for his high score in any major.
“I did a lot of things right,” Woods said. “Unfortunately, I did a few things wrong, as well.”
Woods finished at 13-over 293.
His previous high score in a U.S. Open was 290 at The Olympic Club in 1998 and Shinnecock Hills in 2004. Woods shot 294 at Oakland Hills in 1996 as an amateur.
Just two days ago, Woods was four shots out of the lead and very much in the hunt to end his five-year drought in the majors. Then, he went 76-74 for his worst weekend in a major championship.
Then there was Stefani who raised his arms and hopped around the tee in celebration. Caddie Chris Callas gave him a playful hug and a slap on the back.
“I didn’t know what to do but jump up and down for joy,” Stefani said.
Then he walked down the 229-yard, par-3 hole and planted a kiss on the sweet spot where it landed.
“We’re in Philly. There’s some great fans up here and I know they can be tough on you and they can love you forever,” he said.
USGA Museum officials waited for Stefani near the scorecard trailer and hoped to acquire the ball. Stefani declined.
“It’s hiding right now,” he said. “I’m going to save it.”
But he did pull the ball out of his pocket and showed it off. He also inquired about getting some sort of commemorative plaque from Merion.
The USGA’s Far Hills, N.J. museum didn’t go home empty-handed — Stefani donated a signed glove and scorecard.
His only other ace came when he was 13 at Goose Creek Country Club in Baytown, Texas, his hometown.