Golf: Ace on 17 earns unheralded Wilcox biggest roars of the day
FLORIDA – With his homespun swing and unorthodox follow-through, Will Wilcox does not resemble a golfing superstar but the little-known American sparked the loudest roars at the Players Championship in Florida on Friday with a hole-in-one.
The 29-year-old from Alabama, who has never won on the PGA Tour, aced the infamous par-three 17th during the second round at the TPC Sawgrass, his bright yellow ball pitching five yards short of the hole before rolling into the cup.
As the massive galleries erupted with deafening applause, Wilcox dropped his club in celebration, then leapt into his caddie’s arms before dancing across the 17th tee in unbridled excitement.
It was the first ace on the 147-yard hole at the Players Championship since Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez achieved the feat during the first round in 2002.
“I was just trying to luck it up there on the green,” Wilcox told Golf Channel after the second round was disrupted by a weather delay. “The wind was perfect for that club and when it came out drawing a little bit, I thought, ‘That’s right at it’.
“I was kind of hovering around the cutline at that point and for it to happen right there on 17 is pretty surreal. My whole family is here … I just can’t believe that happened.
“To have everybody there with me is really cool. In the last 10 years, I have come a long ways and this is another stepping stone … maybe a couple more people know who I am now,” he grinned.
Wilcox, who was introduced to the game by his golf professional mother, recorded his first ace on the PGA Tour in his debut appearance at the prestigious Players Championship.
“It’s pretty cool,” said the long-haired Wilcox, whose best finish on the U.S. circuit was a runner-up spot at last year’s Barbasol Championship.
“I’ve made some money this year so I’ve almost got my (PGA Tour) card locked up and being in this field is massive.”
As for his homespun swing?
“Through the ball, it’s good but look at that follow-through,” Wilcox smiled as he watched a television replay of his hole-in-one. “It’s a little different, and I’ve already gotten some grief on Twitter about it (his follow-through).
“If you don’t like it, then whatever … watch another sport. But it (that shot) went in.” –Reuters