Andrew Magee wasn't sure what to expect when he pulled his driver out of the bag on the 17th hole Thursday in the Phoenix Open. Certainly, not a place in PGA Tour history.
Magee, who drove in the water on 17 during his previous round, got exactly that when his drive bounded onto the green, bounced off Tom Byrum's putter and went into the hole for what was believed to be the first hole-in-one on a par 4 in tour history.
"It looked like a hole-in-one and sounded like a hole-in-one. But I still wasn't sure it was one," Magee said.
Byrum was squatting down looking over a putt when the ball deflected off his putter and rolled about 8 feet directly into the hole for a unique double eagle ace.
"It was the first putt Tom made all day," quipped Rusty Uresti, the caddie for Gary Nicklaus, who was standing behind Byrum when the ball hit his putter.
Though five double eagles were recorded on the tour last year alone, all were on par 5s. Tour officials said they couldn't recall a hole-in-one ever being made on a par 4 in competition.
Tiger Woods had driven the 333-yard hole a few groups earlier, and most players were pulling out drivers and trying for the green on the hole. But Magee didn't expect his ball would get all the way up the elevated front to the green and reach the hole.
"I had just hit my last drive in the water so I wasn't expecting much," Magee said. "But I just killed it straight at the hole."
Magee could see the ball bouncing up to the green, but wasn't quite sure what happened when it changed direction and disappeared into the hole.
"I'm going, is that my ball or is it someone's ball on the green," he said. "I still wasn't sure if it was a hole-in-one."
On the green, Byrum was struggling to a 71 and wasn't terribly pleased with being a footnote to tour history.
"Just a fluke thing. Ball rolled up, hit my putter and went in the hole," he said.
Playing a few holes ahead, Woods was more impressed.
"Wow, an easy double eagle," he said.
Magee had made six holes-in-one in his career, including one on the 12th hole at TPC of Scottsdale in the 1991 Phoenix Open. This was the first one where he had to ask a rules official if it was really a 1.
Under the rules of golf, any outside interference with a ball is simply rub of the green, and the ball is played as it ends up.
"Usually it hits something and goes in the water or out of bounds," Magee said. "It seldom goes somewhere good."
Magee, who ended with a 66, had been struggling on the back nine until the ball went in. From then on, he said, the rest of the round was simply a bonus.
"I really didn't care what happened the rest of the day," he said. "I'll be basking in this glow as long as I can."
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