Travis Smyth goes from double bogey to hole-in-one on par-3 17th at The Open
Every tournament has ‘that hole.’ One that causes excitement, drama and a ruckus. The Open Championship has a couple of them, with a pair of feisty finishing holes, including the short 17th. Sitting around 136 yards on the card, the par 3 has witnessed a variety of scores through two rounds.
There were only 21 birdies in the opening round and that did not include Travis Smyth. The Aussie made double bogey on Thursday, but came back for revenge in the second round.
After a double, revenge may look like a par or even a birdie, right? Not for Smyth. Stepping up to the tee he had a different strategy, saying, “Yeah, so I was trying to – I hit a 9-iron. I took some pace off to keep the ball flight down. I put it back in the stance a little bit, I gripped down a little, as well, and I tried to hit it 20 feet right of the pin and allowed for the wind to bring it back to the middle or basically the flag.”
Twenty feet right is not where it went. The ball took a little 1-2 hop straight into the cup for a hole-in-one.
Despite having previous aces in his career, this one was particularly special.
“Yeah, I’ve had two others. Both those ones were kind of – I wouldn’t say poor shots, but I wasn’t aiming at the flag. I kind of pushed one in the hole and then I pulled another, and then today was kind of my first hole-in-one that I’ve actually attempted to get it close,” said Smyth.
A memorable moment to add to his wild ride over the last two seasons.
A year ago, Smyth had a career-boosting event on the Asian Tour. He qualified for the inaugural LIV London event and was part of the runner-up team, earning him $375,000 - his largest-ever check. He went on to play three 2022 LIV Golf events, never finishing inside the top 20 as an individual but still earning nearly $850,000 (along with his initial team haul).
Smyth was able to use that money to reinvest into his career and used another good Asian Tour result to qualify for this year’s Open. Now, he has an ace – and a walk – to remember.
“Even walking back to 18th tee people were yelling my name; walking down 18 people were yelling my name,” he said. “Yeah, it was cool. I almost hit the same ball down 18, but with the out of bounds just there I thought I should change balls and leave that ball with a good memory.”
Despite being asked for the ace ball after the round, Smyth is keeping it. Who can blame him? Not everyday you make a hole-in-one at a major championship.
Smyth won’t be around for the weekend, as he shot 78-72. But he does leave with the memories and a special keepsake.