PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – It took a decade, but someone finally aced the Bear Trap.
Alex Cejka brought the crowd gathered around the 17th green at the Honda Classic to their feet late Thursday afternoon when he aced the par-3 with an 8-iron from 177 yards. He became the first player to make a hole-in-one on either No. 15 or No. 17, bookends of the Champion Course’s infamous three-hole stretch, since the tournament shifted to PGA National in 2007.
“I just hit it pretty solid and it was right at the pin all the time,” Cejka said. “With the wind, you don’t know how it’s going to react, but it pitched pretty straight. It just pitched shy of the hole and disappeared. It was a crazy feeling, especially in front of the crowds here.”
While it was the first Bear Trap ace in tournament history, it was actually Cejka’s second ace of the young season. He also made a hole-in-one at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in October.
Cejka followed the hole-in-one with a birdie on No. 18, and after it appeared he would be headed for the wrong side of the early projected cut line, the German instead made it back to the clubhouse with a 1-over 71 that put him six shots off the lead.
“It was a grinding day today with the wind and the way the course was playing,” he said. “It was a really hard grind especially for me today, and I’m happy with 1 over par.”
The first leg of the Bear Trap, the par-3 15th, remains without an ace. As for the relevant history at the 17th:
Since 2007 at 17th hole - PGA National— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) February 25, 2016
302 balls in the water