(Reuters) – Francesco Molinari and D.A. Points each recorded a hole-in-one at the par-three seventh at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in central Florida on Thursday, doubling in one day the number of aces at the hole in the past 40 years.
British Open champion Molinari used a four-iron on a cool morning at the 203-yard hole, while Points brought out his six-iron in warmer afternoon conditions at Bay Hill.
“Just flushed it straight at the flag and luckily it went in,” Italian Molinari told reporters after a three-under-par 69 that left him four shots behind first round leader Rafa Cabrera Bello.
Not that there is ever a bad time for an ace, but Molinari’s certainly lifted his spirits following a double-bogey three holes earlier.
“It was great, especially also given the moment,” he said.
“Didn’t have a great start, doubling the fourth, so I was trying to get back to level par as quick as possible and obviously that’s pretty quick.”
Points was initially not all that happy with the shot that produced his ace.
“Go! Go!” he urged his ball as it sailed towards the green.
The journeyman need not have worried. His ball easily made it to the putting surface and landed 16 paces from the hole, prompting the American to suddenly change his tune.
“Now sit! Go in!” Points said, and the ball duly obliged.
Points stood with his hand on his right hip looking almost embarrassed as he realised from the cheering that he had made the ace.
The 42-year-old sheepishly raised his right arm to acknowledge the applause, before sharing apologetic high-fives with his caddie and playing companions.
Having picked up two shots in one fell swoop at what was his 16th hole, Points gave them straight back with bogeys at his final two holes and signed for a level par-72.
According to tournament records, only one ace had been recorded at the hole since the event moved to Bay Hill in 1979.
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina, editing by Nick Mulvenney)