Only eight players in the history of The Players Championship had made a hole-in-one on the famed island green 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass before this year’s event. On Thursday, Ryan Moore became the ninth.
Facing the most intimidating 120-yard par-3 on the Tour, Moore, pulled a 54° wedge and watched as it never left the flagstick.
“I heard it clink and the funny thing is the group right before me, we were walking up 16 I think it was (Emiliano) Grillo hit the pin about two inches above the cup and almost went back in the water,” Moore said. “I was just waiting to see where the ball went and then no ball showed up.”
Indeed, Moore’s was nearly the second ace of the day at the 17th. Just a group ahead of them, Grillo hit a shot straight down the flagstick as well, but it nearly turned into a disaster as it stopped inches from rolling back into the water.
“It’s one I’m always happy to walk off with a (par), I know that,” Moore said of the famous island green. “I have certainly made some birdies. I’ve definitely hit it in the water a few times, but at this point who hasn’t? I would say that I’ve played it respectably at this point, can’t play it any better than today.”
The ace wasn’t the only highlight of the day for Moore who used the momentum boost to shoot up the leaderboard into a tie for fifth after a first-round 5-under par 67.
After the first round, however, Moore was still two shots back of c0-leaders Tommy Fleetwood and Keegan Bradley who torched Sawgrass to the tune of 7-under par 65.