Former NHL All-Star Joe Sakic picked a good spot for his first career hole-in-one - a $1 million two-hopper into the cup on the waterfront par-3 17th at the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship at Lake Tahoe on Sunday.
"That's a shot you never imagine hitting," said Sakic, who won two Stanley Cups and an MVP trophy with the Colorado Avalanche. "I've never even been close before."
It provided the highlight of the event, which was won by actor Jack Wagner. Wagner's 10-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole helped him hold off Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo.
Romo eagled 11 after driving the 315-yard par 4. He then birdied No. 13 to inch closer to Wagner, but when both hit into the water on 18, Wagner saved bogey. Romo did not.
"I had to be aggressive and have a three there," Romo said of his second shot from about 165 yards that had to clear a big tree in front of the green and knife through a strong wind off Lake Tahoe.
"It's the kind of shot you've got to hit if you need to make eagle. I hit a good shot. It held its line until about the apex when it started to drift," he said. "Jack deserves all the credit here. He really went out there and won the golf tournament.
"He put a lot of pressure on me to play a great round of golf. When you make six birdies in the first 11 holes it usually is over by that point."
But Sakic was the big story.
For the last three years, any player hitting an ace on the signature hole at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course earned a $1 million bonus from tourney sponsor American Century, with the Kansas City-based investment company stipulating that half of the prize go to its primary charity benefactor.
So Sakic will split the $1 million with Lance Armstrong's Livestrong Foundation for cancer research.
"If you're going to do it, why not here?" he said. "When it went in, I didn't believe it."
It marks the fourth hole-in-one in the tournament's 22-year-history.
Sakic couldn't tell at first if the ball went in the cup, but jumped in the air with his arms raised when he got the official word it had bounced into the hole in front of the pin. He exchanged high-fives with playing partners Trent Dilfer and Greg Maddox, then slapped hands with fans along the ropes as he made his way to the green.
"To be honest, I don't care how it went in," he told reporters afterward. "I'm just happy I got a hole-in-one for the first time in my life."
Sakic also starred at center with Quebec during his 20 years in the NHL and recently took a front office job with the Avs. The 13-time All-Star said the hole-in-one did "not quite" compare with the Stanley Cups he won with Colorado in 1996 and 2001. But he said it's not a fair comparison.
"I'm not used to this. I'm just rattled all the time," he said about the 54-hole golf tourney that draws a field of past and present sports stars and entertainers.
"We come out here for three days and feel like actual pros until you see us swing," he said. "This is just great."