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Will Wilcox aces 17th hole at The Players

1st hole-in-one on iconic island green in 14 years during tournament play

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – For the 13th hole-in-one of his golfing career, PGA TOUR player Will Wilcox picked a high profile spot. A pitching wedge from 147 yards flew straight and true and rolled into the cup at the 17th hole at the TPC at Sawgrass Stadium Course on Friday. It’s the first ace at 17 in 14 years during THE PLAYERS. Miguel Angel Jiminez made the last in 2002.

Shortly thereafter, a sign was posted in the media dining area in front of the cooler saying Will would like to buy the media a beer to celebrate his hole in one. And to top it off, Wilcox and his caddie came by after his second round 71 (he’s -5 for the tournament) to literally have a beer with the media.

“Eleven years old, 7 iron, 134 yards,” Wilcox said when asked about his first ace. With 13 of them on his resume, he said he really couldn’t remember his last but “I’ll always remember my first.”

When I mentioned to Wilcox that the last guy who had some success on the Stadium Course with a colored golf ball was Jerry Pate, he said, “He’s a ‘Bama guy, sort of.” (Pate attended the University of Alabama.)

Wilcox is from Birmingham and played college golf at UAB before going on the Web.com tour and graduating to the PGA TOUR. Easygoing and friendly, he was honest when asked why he plays a yellow ball.

“Because Srixon likes it,” he said with a smile. “And that’s good enough.”

With the pin position in the back, Wilcox was as surprised as anyone that he made the first hole in one in 6,300 tournament swings at 17.

“When we got there yesterday I said to the guys in my group, ‘Oh with that pin position, (up front) somebody will knock that in,’” he explained. “So with it back today I was just hoping to not chunk it in the water.” As he and his caddie packed up and headed home for the night he turned to the dozen or so of us left and waved, “Let’s do this again tomorrow.”