What’s better than hitting a walk-off hole-in-one at Augusta National’s Par-3 contest? Well, hitting back-to-back hole in ones, that’s what!
That’s exactly what Seamus Power did to close out his par-3 adventure on the eve of this year’s Masters tournament.
With 114 yards to the middle of the green, his downhill approach to the eighth flew to the centre and screwed back, appearing as though it would run out of steam but kept trickling and fell in the left edge.
He stopped to speak to Sky Sports on his way to the ninth tee, and understandably, the Waterford man was pretty pleased with himself.
“That was incredible,” he told the on-course reporter, “It’s something you dream about at Augusta, but even here on the par-3 course.
“I think it was playing 108 and I just hit a sand-wedge. Last year I landed it too short and it spins back, so I know it spins back, so this year I wanted to hit it past and hope for the best and it goes in.”
Despite the relaxed nature of the event, the par-3 patrons erupted, much to Powers surprise and delight.
“It was louder than I would’ve expected,” he admitted, “obviously for a Wednesday, but I’ll take it. It’s a memory I’ll have with me for the rest of my life.”
His media duty done for the day – or so he thought – he sauntered off to the ninth and final hole where, traditional golfing decorum being given a pass for the day, his playing partners had already teed off.
Up stepped the two-time PGA Tour winner and with the hole playing some 20 yards longer, produced a near-carbon copy of the shot at the eighth, pitching a good 30 feet past and drawing back down the slope on the perfect line and dropped as the camera cut back to a jubilant Power who couldn’t contain the laughter.
With no par-3 winner ever going on to win the main event in the same year, players have come to view the dress rehearsal as something of a curse, and it’s common to see a player’s caddie putt out on the last to ensure a good score doesn’t qualify. Power acing the last could’ve potentially thrown a spanner in the works, but, and perhaps fortunately so if he dons the Green Jacket on Sunday, he’d already ensured that his name wouldn’t be on the par-3 contest leaderboard.
“My brother’s already hit a couple of putts,” he’d already explained, “I’ve always heard about the curse and there’s no point in messing with that.”
Naturally, the press were eager to get his thoughts after ace number two.
“Yeah, it’s a dream come true,” he replied when asked about the emotional high he was riding. “Obviously to get one was special, but to get the second one was a bit surreal. It was an absolute blast out there.
“It’s obviously such a special tradition here on a Wednesday. Being able to share it with my brother out there, that was probably the best part. Yeah, I don’t know whether it carries into tomorrow, but it’s certainly a lifelong memory that I’ll treasure for a long time.”
Power had 14 holes-in-one prior to today, and he confirmed his intent to count these as 15 and 16. “Geez, absolutely,” he smiled. “I’ll claim anything I can, to be honest with you, so yeah, I’m happy with that.”
As for the ball? Both aces came with the same ProV1, but there’ll be no nostalgic attachment to it. “No, it’s already gone,” he laughed. “But it was fun.”
Power becomes just the third player to have back-to-back aces in the Par-3 contest, following Claude Harmon in 1968 and Toshi Izawa in 2002. His pair today were the third and fourth of the day to that point, and the 105th and 106th in the event’s history and he’ll get his hands on two pieces of the Masters’ coveted crystal that’s reserved for hole-in-ones and eagles in tournament play.
The main event is yet to start, but the Irish are already off to a flyer.
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