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A bit of history at the U.S. Open

June 17, 2013|By David Wharton
  • Shawn Stefani acknowledges the gallery after hitting a hole-in-one on the 17th during the fourth round of the U.S. Open on Sunday.
Shawn Stefani acknowledges the gallery after hitting a hole-in-one on… (Julio Cortez / Associated…)

One more special memory from the U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club, a moment that might have gotten lost in a weekend of dramatic birdies, costly bogeys and seemingly constant lead changes.

On Sunday afternoon, as winner Justin Rose and co-runner-up Phil Mickelson duked it out, a guy nowhere near the lead made headlines.

Shawn Stefani, who finished at 19-over, was teeing off at No. 17, a 229-yard, par-3 hole. His 4-iron sailed a little off line, but bounced out of the rough and rolled some 50 feet across the green.

Straight into the cup.

"I was really surprised to see the ball kick to the right," Stefani said. "And then once it did kick, it kept rolling and I was like, well, this could be good."

The roar of the crowd told him that he had made history. It was the first ace in the five times the U.S. Open has visited Merion.

Plucking his ball out of the hole, Stefani went back and kissed the ground where it took that first, fateful bounce. It was the second hole-in-one of his golfing life, the other coming when he was 13.

Officials asked to have his ball for the USGA museum after the tournament ended, but Stefani played coy.

"It's hiding right now," he said. "I'm going to save it. I'm going to save the ball. I mean, obviously I got to get a plaque or something from here and then put it in a little case."

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