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Stefani's ace the first ever at Merion in Open

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ARDMORE, Pa. – Merion finally surrendered an ace at the U.S. Open, but not without a bit of luck involved.

Shawn Stefani’s hole-in-one Sunday with a 4-iron on the 213-yard 17th was the first ever at Merion, which is hosting its fifth Open.

But his tee shot appeared destined not for the hole but the left rough. Instead, the rookie’s ball kicked off the bank on the left side of the hole and trickled onto the green, down a slope and into the cup for a 1, his first in competition and only the second of his career. His first ace came when he was 13 years old at Goose Creek Country Club in Baytown, Texas.

Upon reaching the 17th green, Stefani walked over and kissed the turf that had given him the fortuitous bounce.

“It was kind of funny because I jumped up and didn’t really know what to do,” Stefani said.

After a disastrous 85 in Round 3, Stefani improved 16 strokes on the final day and was tied for 60th when he finished his round.

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