DUBLIN, Ohio – Some professional golfers treat their holes-in-one like children, each a treasured favorite in its own special way.
And then there’s Steve Stricker.
Not that he was paying much attention. Press him for details and the longtime pro endures sudden amnesia.
How many does he have outside of competition?
“I don't keep track,” Stricker admitted. “I think that's in the seven, eight, nine range, somewhere in there. No, but I don't jot them down at home and log them all or anything.”
When was his first?
“I was in college at Illinois, I think.”
What were the best comments he heard from the gallery after his most recent one on Friday?
“The common stuff. ‘You're buying.’ ‘What are we drinking?’ All that kind of stuff.”
Did he save the ball for safe keeping?
“I actually gave it to my scorer. Signed it and gave it to my scorer.”
That would be after he used it again, posting a birdie on his final hole of the day for a 5-under 67 to grab a three-stroke lead entering the weekend.
While the ace got the headlines, it was simply the icing on the cake for Stricker, who was already tied for the lead when he holed that tee shot on No. 8. He will play in the final pairing with Ricky Barnes on Saturday, searching for his 10th career victory and sixth in the past three seasons.
“Obviously I'm happy to be where I'm at, but I've just got to keep doing the same things I've been doing and try to do the same things, play to my strengths,” Stricker said. “If something isn't right or feeling right, you know, on a particular shot, play a little smart, and then be aggressive on the things that I feel good that I can be aggressive at.”
Based on his track record, don’t expect another hole-in-one anytime soon. That’s OK with Stricker, though. He keeps better count of his wins than his aces.