The euphoria of taking to the Augusta National Par-Three course on the eve of The Masters, the thrill of playing alongside past winners Gary Player and Ben Crenshaw, and the raw emotion of hitting your first hole-in-one ever on the course. No, this wasn’t the experience of an amateur golfer, this was 18-time major champion Jack Nicklaus.
The six-time Masters winner made the most of his annual Master appearance, though he was unable to play alongside Arnold Palmer this year after his fellow-American suffered a dislocated shoulder recently.
Palmer was in attendance though to follow Nicklaus, Player and Crenshaw around the beautiful par-three course at Augusta, which gives players one last tune-up before The Masters begins on Thursday.
Incredibly, despite his six overall victories and 45 Masters appearances, Nicklaus has never scored a hole-in-one on the main course or the par-three course. Until now.
Nicklaus hit his tee-shot on the fourth to around 10-feet beyond the hole, using his vast knowledge of Augusta to full advantage as he knew the downhill slope, combined with a touch of back-spin, would bring the ball back towards that flag at the front of the green.
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And boy did it. Passing Player’s stricken ball, it kept coming and coming, the noise from the Patrons building as one-by-one they worked out where the ball was heading, before erupting into a wall of noise as is sank into the hole.
Nicklaus threw his arms into the air, players on other holes looked over and saluted the 75-year-old, and suddenly he found himself in contention at the top of the leaderboard.
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It wasn’t to last though, as Nicklaus sent two balls into Ike’s Pond at the last to card a five-over 32, though that did involve sharing out the joy by letting his grandchildren play with him.Reuse content