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TPC Sawgrass ‘Island Green’ holes-in-one: Hayden Buckley joins list of aces on 17th hole at Players Championship

“Buckets for Buckley.”

The 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass features one of the most famous tee shots in all of golf. 

The green is surrounded on all sides by water, with only a narrow walkway connecting the putting surface to the other side of the pond. It’s not a long hole, measuring just 137 yards, but the intimidating view from the tee box makes it one of the toughest shots players face each year. 

Unless you’re Hayden Buckley, that is. 

The 27-year-old American made the daunting shot look way too easy on Thursday morning when he made a hole-in-one on the famous island green.

MORE: Follow live updates and highlights from Round 1 of the 2023 Players Championship

Playing in just the second group to reach the 17th hole, he hit a perfect pitching wedge that landed near the center of the green, spun back down the slope and rolled perfectly into the left corner of the cup. 

Hayden Buckley hole-in-one at Players Championship

The ace was met with wild cheers from the spectators already surrounding the iconic green early in the morning, as well as a “squeak” from TPC commentator Cara Banks on the broadcast. Buckley tossed his hat into the air, threw his club towards his bag and pumped up the crowd.

It was just the 11th hole-in-one ever at TPC Sawgrass’ 17th hole, and the 5th since 2016. Here’s a look at the exclusive list of players who have aced it in competition:

TPC Sawgrass 17th holes-in-one

Player Year Round
Brad Fabel 1986 Round 1
Brian Claar 1991 Round 3
Fred Couples 1997 Round 4
Joey Sindelar 1999 Round 1
Paul Azinger 2000 Round 3
Miguel Ángel Jimenez 2002 Round 1
Willy Wilcox 2016 Round 2
Sergio Garcia 2017 Round 1
Ryan Moore 2019 Round 1
Shane Lowry 2022 Round 3
Hayden Buckley 2023 Round 1

Fred Couples technically did it twice, once in 1997 and then again in 1999. The only problem: his first tee shot in Round 1 of the 1999 tournament found the water. On what was officially his third shot (from the exact same spot as his first), the ball dunked straight into the hole for an unlikely par. 

A hole in… three?

While Buckley’s ace is just the 10th ace at the ‘island green,’ Shane Lowry accomplished the feat last year. 

The hole-in-one helped kickstart Buckley’s round and briefly vaulted him into a tie for the lead at -3. However, a disappointing back nine resulted in a +1 round of 73 to open his tournament. 

Still, it’s never a bad day when you make a memory that will last a lifetime on one of the most famous holes in golf. 

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