houston open

Last week’s PGA Tour winner records hole in one in Houston with his yellow golf ball

March 31, 2024

Logan Riely

Peter Malnati’s professional life changed last week when he captured his second PGA Tour victory at the Valspar Championship, this one coming nine years after his first. He shot a final-round 67 to top Cameron Young by two shots at Innisbrook Resort in Florida.

The emotional victory changed his schedule drastically this year on the PGA Tour, and it gave him an invite into the Masters for the first time in his career.

With a goal of just trying to qualify for the weekend this week at the Texas Children’s Hospital Open, Malnati, obviously had low expectations after a draining few days. But he shot 68-73 and did make the cut.

On Sunday at Memorial Park, he was two over par with three holes remaining when, on the par-3, 223-yard seventh hole (his 16th of the day), he recorded a hole-in-one, the ball stopping well short of the pin, rolling some 25 feet before finding the bottom of the cup.

"I just hit the worst tee shot ever the hole before, like a diving toe hook," he said. "So when I stepped up on the tee on 7, I was like, you know what, this yardage is a perfect 5-iron. I said I'm going to hit the same shot I hit on 17th hole at the Valspar Championship on Sunday. I'm going to aim it right at the TV tower, I'm going to let the wind do the rest. And I hit this beautiful 5-iron, it was so nice and it was a perfect yardage, hit a good full one. Wind was right to left, so it was helping.

"Then the ball kind of disappears over a little ridge on that green so we couldn't actually see it. It was funny because obviously not a whole lot of people are watching the 9:30 group off 10 here on Sunday in Houston so there was a smattering of people behind the green and half of them went 'Woooo!' and the other half just sat completely still. We were like, oh, that was kind of like a really close 'woooo.' So we didn't know it went in until we got up to the green and it was crazy."

It was his third ace on the PGA Tour and the fifth at this event since it moved to Memorial Park Golf Course in 2020. Chan Kim made one on the ninth hole in the first round after finding out the night before that a good friend of his had died back home in Arizona.

Malnati made headlines last week for his victory, but before he collected the goods on Sunday, he made a few more because of his comments regarding why he plays with a yellow golf ball.

“Well, I started using it in Minnesota at the 3M Championship last summer,” he said at the Valspar Championship. “And the reason I switched to it is because my, at the time, 3-year-old, who is now 4, liked them. And so, he's kind of over it now, but it still makes me think of him, and that's worth a smile or two, which is worth a lot out there for me.”