Mar
7
2015
Fourth hole at Doral (doubly) jarring
By Stephanie Wei under PGA Tour

Believe it or not — Dustin Johnson and J.B. Holmes both aced the par-3 no. 4 at Trump National Doral during a span of about 20 minutes in the third round of the Cadillac Championship.

Yep, you heard that correctly. Johnson and Holmes made unlikely hole-in-ones on the difficult fourth hole, which was playing 207 yards on Saturday with the pin on the right side of the green that is guarded by an intimidating water hazard. The duo of bombers also used the same club, a 7-iron.

Watch and be amazed, my friends…

First, here’s Dustin’s shot:

Next, J.B., who was playing two groups behind DJ, steps up to the plate:

J.B.’s hole-in-one beats out DJ’s only because he had a *much* better celebration. Good to see him show some personality!

Since 1990, a PGA Tour event has been held at Doral, but the fourth hole has never yielded a single ace until today when it happened twice.

When Lee Westwood was told about the unbelievable pair of aces, he was certainly surprised, especially considering the pin placement today. He suggested that Johnson and Holmes probably pushed their shots.

Turns out that’s exactly what happened with Johnson’s shot and he actually admitted it.

“That’s a really tough hole, tough par 3, but if you get a one there, obviously that’s a bonus,” said Johnson after he posted a three-under 69. “Yeah, I just hit a really good shot. Actually, I pushed it just a hair but I wasn’t aiming right at the flag. I was aiming just a fraction left of it and it rolled right in.”

On the other hand, Holmes claimed he was taking dead aim at the pin.

“The wind was coming, it was kind of down and hard off the right,” he said. “I was actually aiming right at it. And well, I was planning on the wind moving it, and I thought if I hit it perfect  I usually hit a little bit of a cut, and if I hit it perfect, it would stay straight, and it did. So one of the rare times you get a hole-in-one where you actually hit it just like you want to.”

Holmes’ lead was cut to two momentarily when he dropped to eight-under after bogeying no. 12, but then he took it into another gear and rolled in four straight birdies on nos. 14-17. Despite a bogey on the difficult finishing hole, he still shot a two-under 70 — 11-under total — to give himself a five-shot advantage over the next closest competitors, Johnson and Bubba Watson, who sit at six-under through 54 holes.

Having held the solo lead through three rounds, Holmes would be the first wire-to-wire winner on the PGA Tour since Rory McIlroy won the 2014 Open Championship. Even with his massive lead, Holmes, who is attempting to snag his fourth victory, doesn’t plan on changing his game plan come Sunday in the final round.

“I’m just going to approach it the same way I have,” he said. “This golf course, you can make some big numbers, so you’ve got to plan to be safe and hit on sides of the pin but if you get a wedge in your hand, you’ve got to try and make a birdie.

“I’m not going to change my game plan. Obviously, if you’re trying to catch up, you have to hit at a few more flags, but that just gets you in trouble out here. So you’ve just got to be patient and try to make some pars and minimize the big numbers. I mean, that’s part of this golf course is just you can make a few birdies but you can make a bogey real quick out here.”

Johnson plans to do his best to get off to a fast start to put pressure on Holmes.

“Just got to get off to a good start,” he said. “This golf course is very hard, and just get off to a good start and try to get a little pressure on him early.”

Meanwhile, Bubba doesn’t intend to alter his strategy on Sunday.

“It’s the same thing,” he said when asked about his mindset for putting pressure on Holmes. “I can’t worry about what J.B. is doing. This golf course is hard enough as it is.

“If I start worrying about other people, I’m going to lose it. For me, it’s all about just picking the right clubs, hopefully getting the right numbers and making the right reads and making putts. So at the end of the day, we’ll add them up and hopefully I can scare him or have a chance for that win.”

Let’s hope somebody goes low tomorrow and gives Holmes a run for his money, so the tournament doesn’t become a complete snoozefest.

Aside: What’s the over/under the winner declares himself a top-5 player in the world during his 18th green winning interview on national television?