PGA Championship

Valhalla Golf Club



Rare bird

18-year-old makes hole-in-one on par 4 (!) during John Deere Monday qualifier

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Aldrich Potgieter came up one shot short of Monday qualifying for this week’s John Deere Classic. But the newly turned pro from South Africa has a heck of a story to tell from his 18 holes at Pinnacle Country Club in Milan, Ill.

The 18-year-old former British Amateur champion shot a six-under 66 with a scorecard that included a 1-2-3-4-5 in a five-hole stretch on Pinnacle’s back nine. More astonishingly, the ace didn’t come on a par 3.

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Rather, Potgieter holed his tee shot on the 345-yard par-4 17th, his eighth hole of the day. Using a driver on the dogleg-right, cut the corner but wasn’t sure at first how the shot turned out.

“That was really exciting, and it was kind of a weird moment,” Potgieter said afterward. “I didn't see it go in, so I didn't know. Kind of a blind tee shot, but ... when I saw my caddie run out to the fairway, and was pumping up his arms and going wild, I thought it was probably like a foot or two. And he said, no, it was in the hole. So, it wasn't like one you see on a par 3 and you go wild with the crowd. It was kind of a quiet moment to yourself where you're like, ‘I still can't believe that happened.’ ”

Unfortunately, there was no video of the rare albatross, only a post-round interview with Potgieter courtesy of the PGA Tour.

After making the turn a six under, Potgieter couldn’t keep the momentum going, playing Pinnacle’s front side in even par. Reid Martin shot a 10-under 62 to earn medalist honors, while amateur Anders Larson, Yuto Katsuragawa and Kaito Onishi shots 65s to grab the four spots available to play at TPC Deere Run.

Potgieter played this year’s Masters and U.S. Open as an amateur thanks to his British Amateur win last summer, missing the cut in the former and finishing 64th in the latter. He then made his pro debut two weeks ago at the Korn Ferry Tour’s Compliance Solutions Championship, finishing 35th. He played last week at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, on a sponsor’s exemption, missing the cut at Detroit Golf Club.

Just how rare is hole-in-one on a par 4? Well consider it’s only been done once in a PGA Tour event. Andrew Magee has that honor, holing he tee shot on the par-4 17th hole at TPC Scottsdale during the 2001 Phoenix Open.