Martin holes out for eagle on No. 1


BETHESDA, Md. – In golf terms, it’s hard to get off to a better start.

From 92 yards in the middle of the first fairway on Saturday at the Quicken Loans National, Ben Martin smoothed a 58-degree wedge 94 yards. It bounced once, spun back and trickled into the hole for an opening eagle.

“I’ll take a ‘2’ every day to start,” Martin said.

But the problem with starting with a walk-off is that you still have 17 holes to play, and Martin endured a predictable letdown the rest of the way.

He bogeyed the third, 11th and 12th holes before making two late birdies for a 1-under 71 that moved him up seven spots on the leaderboard into a tie for sixth.

“You get on that high to start the day and you have to calm down,” Martin said. “I had to remind myself to get into my normal routine.”

Still, Martin’s eagle helped put him in the hunt for his first start at the Open Championship. The top four players not already exempt into the year’s third major who finish inside the top 12 on Sunday earn a spot at Royal Liverpool.

“I’ve thought about it a couple times this week,” said Martin, who will have the same chance to qualify for the Open next week at the Greenbrier Classic and if he finishes in the top five at the John Deere Classic. “It’s a nice perk to have.”