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Mark Hubbard hated his tee shot at the 11th hole of the first round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic so much that he threw his club down and turned away in disgust - only for the ball to sail towards the pin and roll in for a hole-in-one.
WATCH THE HOLE-IN-ONE
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“That’s embarrassing,” he said as the ball flew through the air, obviously not liking his contact. As he watched the ball head towards the target though, he added, “If that goes in….oh, oh!” Hubbard sheepishly turned to his caddy and asked, “Did that go in?”
As playing partners Bill Haas and Wyndham Clark offered their congratulations on his ace, Hubbard was given some good natured stick, being told that a hole-in-one doesn’t count if you don’t keep hold of your club, with comparisons being made with a basketball bank shot, when an off target shot goes in off the backboard.
Hubbard posted a four-under-par 68 on the opening day of the Rocket Mortgage Classic, carding four birdies and two bogeys to go along with his ace at the par-3 11th. After his round he said his hole-in-one was the ninth of his career and probably his favourite.
"It was fun but embarrassing,” he said. “Sometimes you’ve got to be lucky. I think I let go of the club on about three of the last four shots as well and they all ended up okay. I just felt really stuck and I thought it was going to be way right of the green. I looked up and it was a perfect one yard draw. Wyndham actually was like, as soon as I let go, he's like, 'Dude, that better not go in', but sure enough it landed and trickled in like a putt. "
Hubbard is yet to win a PGA Tour event, but having started this season with conditional status, he’s made 15 cuts in 19 starts ahead of the Rocket Mortgage Classic, and came into this week’s event with back-to-back top-four finishes. He credits the LIV Golf Tour for taking away some of the competition and opening up more spots in the field for the likes of him to play with the big boys.
Jeff graduated from Leeds University in Business Studies and Media in 1996 and did a post grad in journalism at Sheffield College in 1997. His first jobs were on Slam Dunk (basketball) and Football Monthly magazines, and he's worked for the Sunday Times, Press Association and ESPN. He has faced golfing greats Sam Torrance and Sergio Garcia, but on the poker felt rather than the golf course. Jeff's favourite course played is Sandy Lane in Barbados, which went far better than when he played Matfen Hall in Northumberland, where he crashed the buggy on the way to the 1st tee!