SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Francesco Molinari authored the shot of the tournament Saturday at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
In front of an estimated 20,000 fans surrounding the par-3 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale, Molinari flew a pitching wedge that landed just past the pin and spun in for a hole-in-one. It was just the ninth ace since the tournament moved to this venue, and first in competition since Jarrod Lyle in 2011.
The gallery erupted in celebration after the ball disappeared, and dozens of fans showered the area around the green with beer cups and bottles – so much so that Brian Davis, playing after Molinari, had to wait for volunteers to clean up the debris before hitting.
“Yeah, 16th was just incredible,” Molinari said. “I think it’s just my third hole-in-one in my life, so to get one there, it is special and the reaction was just something else, something you don’t see in golf every day.”
How frenzied were the crowds at No. 16? When Molinari showed up in the pre-dawn hours to complete his second round, fans were already lining up to get a spot in the general admission bleachers.
“Must have been around 7 a.m., probably even before 7,” he said. “It was still dark, and we were just going down to the range and there were a few guys running towards the 16th green. They had been waiting a while, I guess, today.”
The ace fueled Molinari to a 7-under 64, and at 8 under he sits in a tie for eighth, five shots behind Martin Laird. As for an encore at the loudest hole in golf, Molinari fears he may have raised the bar a bit too high.
“I guess tomorrow I will hit it to two feet and I will be booed,” he said.
For your entertainment, we've provided the crowd showering the course in beers on a loop below: