It was a disastrous day for An Byeong-hun. The South Korean golfer suffered an 11 on the 17th hole after hitting four balls in the water on the first day of The Players Championship, which is called the unofficial fifth major on PGA Tour.
An posted an octuplet-bogey (8-over-par) on the 17th hole, finishing the first round 11-over 83 at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida on Thursday. He was tied for 150th place at 11-over, second to last ahead of Henrik Stenson (13-over-par).
A birdie at one-over-par on the 16th hole was followed by disastrous 17th hole. The 17th hole, which is measured 143 yards, is the island-green surrounded by water. It is known as one of the toughest holes as the wind gusts blowing from the woods make it hard to choose a club. The water is known to claim about 120,000 balls each year in total, both from professional and amateur golfers, requiring divers to bring them up four times a year.
An’s tee shot failed to land on the green and found the water. Just like his ball, he started to collapse. Taking a drop, he went to the drop zone. An’s third effortㅡhis fifth shotㅡtook a bounce before going into the water. His seventh shot spinned back into the water. An finally found dry land at ninth attempt but the ball missed the hole. Then he two-putted to walk off the hole with an 11, recording the second highest score on the 17th. The highest record was set by Bob Tway in 2005 when he three-putted to walk off the hole with 12 after finding the water four times.
After the first round, An took to his Twitter account and said, “We all have bad days in our life and we just have to learn to move on. But it was a horrendous f___ing tee shot on 17th.” An went on to tag himself in a Golf Channel tweet that wrote, “Tag a buddy who would card an 11 on No. 17.”
Korean-American golfer Kevin Na also became a victim of the island green, recording a quintuple-bogey (5-over-par) after sending three balls into the water. A total of 35 balls found the water in the first round. It is the second-highest record after 50 in 2007. Kevin Na withdrew from the event citing a back pain.
To be sure, the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass can be a lucky hole to some. A total of nine golfers, including Ryan Moore (US) in 2019, sank a hole-in-one on the 17th. Fred Couples, who made a hole-in-one in the fourth round at TPC Sawgrass in 1997, hit his tee shot into the water, received one penalty stroke, and chucked a ball from the tee box in the first round at TPC Sawgrass in 1999.
Sergio Garcia, who claimed The Players Championship in 2008, led the first round at 7-under 65, including two eagles. He recorded a par on the 17th.
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