Buckley & Rai Achieve Rare Feat at TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course

Hayden Buckley and Aaron Rai have achieved a rare feat at the iconic 17th hole at the TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course during the Players Championship. In a span of two days, they have become the first players to make a hole-in-one at the same hole in consecutive rounds.

Buckley, starting form the 10th, made a hole-in-one with a precision 125-yard wedge shot at the island green on Thursday.[0] He had just watched his player partner dump one in the water, but still managed to pull off the spectacular shot.[0] After signing his scorecard, Buckley said “I had a little feeling something like that might happen this week. I’ve been hitting it well, but it’s always nice to see it happen on that hole, too.”[1]

The amazing feat was followed up the very next day by Rai, who also became the 11th player in the event's 49-year history to make an ace on the famed island green.[2] Rai said he “couldn’t quite believe that it happened, but very, very special. Very special. Something I’ll always remember.”

Unfortunately for Buckley, despite briefly vaulting himself into a tie for the lead at -3, he dropped six shots in his final seven holes, resulting in a one-over 73.[3] Rai had better luck, birding the 16th and 18th holes for a wild, 4-under finish over his last three holes.[4] He shot 65 and finished the round at 9-under total, four off Scottie Scheffler’s lead.[5]

Rai’s caddie, who will receive a VIP parking spot for each competition day, an engraved money clip, and a custom drawing by artist Casey Jones, said “It happened very fast, but it feels very vivid now that I’m even talking about it and remembering some of those images.”[6]

The incredible feat was made even more spectacular by the fact that it is the second year running someone has made an ace on the 17th, with Shane Lowry doing the business last year.[7] Rai and Buckley have joined an exclusive club and their incredible shots are sure to be remembered for years to come.[8]

0. “PGA Tour Golfer Had Priceless Reaction to Hole-In-One at The Players” msnNOW, 9 Mar. 2023, https://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/golf/pga-tour-golfer-had-priceless-reaction-to-hole-in-one-at-the-players/ar-AA18pClj

1. “Hayden Buckley aces on 17th hole at the Players for 40th hole-in-one in tournament history” Fox News, 10 Mar. 2023, https://www.foxnews.com/sports/hayden-buckley-aces-17th-hole-players-40th-hole-one-tournament-history

2. “Aaron Rai's hole-in-one second of week at iconic 17th hole at Players” msnNOW, 12 Mar. 2023, https://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/golf/aaron-rai-s-hole-in-one-second-of-week-at-iconic-17th-hole-at-players/ar-AA18wbTe

3. “Hayden Buckley aces 17th at TPC Sawgrass as Chad Ramey upstages big guns” The Scotsman, 9 Mar. 2023, https://www.scotsman.com/sport/golf/hayden-buckley-aces-17th-at-tpc-sawgrass-as-chad-ramey-upstages-big-guns-4058335

4. “By the numbers: No. 17 at THE PLAYERS Championship” PGA TOUR, 10 Mar. 2023, https://www.pgatour.com/article/news/latest/2023/03/09/by-the-numbers-no–17-at-the-players-championship-ace-hole-in-one

5. “Aaron Rai makes hole-in-one on 17” PGA TOUR, 11 Mar. 2023, https://www.pgatour.com/article/news/latest/2023/03/11/aaron-rai-makes-hole-in-one-on-17

6. “Luke Hopkins, the caddie for Ben Martin, wins Players caddie competition” The Florida Times-Union, 8 Mar. 2023, https://www.jacksonville.com/story/sports/golf/pga-tour/2023/03/08/luke-hopkins-the-caddie-for-ben-martin-wins-players-caddie-competition/69987119007

7. “WATCH: Hayden Buckley Makes Hole-In-One On Iconic 17th At The Players Championship” Golf Monthly, 9 Mar. 2023, https://www.golfmonthly.com/news/watch-hayden-buckley-makes-hole-in-one-on-iconic-17th-at-the-players-championship

8. “Watch: Hayden Buckley makes hole-in-one at TPC Sawgrass' par-3 17th” Golf Channel, 9 Mar. 2023, https://www.golfchannel.com/news/watch-hayden-buckley-makes-hole-one-tpc-sawgrass-par-3-17th