PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – There have been thousands of rounds played in the history of The Players Championship, but none has ever concluded with the theatrics of Rafael Cabrera Bello’s effort Sunday.
The Spaniard was in the midst of an otherwise nondescript afternoon at TPC Sawgrass when his 8-iron approach from 181 yards to the par-5 16th bounced off a mound, onto the green and into the hole. It was the third albatross in tournament history, and the first ever on the 16th hole.
“Hit a good shot. I saw it kick off the bank of the bunker and I was a bit worried at the beginning because I kind of felt that it shot a little too fast, and I’m like, ‘Oh, is that going to go in the water now?’” Cabrera-Bello said. “Then I don’t know, I saw it bump with the flag and I don’t know what happened.”
The shot drove the crowd in the surrounding amphitheater into a frenzy, and Cabrera Bello celebrated by throwing his club into the air – and into the adjacent lake.
“I just wanted to throw it high in the sky, in the middle of the fairway,” Cabrera Bello said. “I don’t know, I missed the fairway.”
The fun was just beginning, though, as Cabrera Bello then stuffed his tee shot on No. 17 for birdie, then made a miraculous par on No. 18 after hitting his tee shot into the water and holing a 38-foot putt from off the green.
It added up to a 2-under 70 that gave him a tie for fourth, four shots behind Si Woo Kim.