U.S. Open Stories: A History of Hole-in-Ones

By Ryan Watson

U.S. Open Aces

The U.S. Open is notoriously hard, with the USGA famously growing out rough long enough to make finding let alone hitting a golf ball difficult, as well as narrowing fairways and making greens as fast as possible. Still, the second oldest major has still seen its fair share of aces with 44 currently in the record books since the first tournament was played in 1895.

Curiously, no golfer who has hit a hole-in-one at the U.S. Open has gone on to win that tournament. That trend has held since the very beginning, when the first hole-in-one was made by Scottish golfer Jack Hobens at the 13th U.S. Open in 1907. It was held at the Philadelphia Cricket Club in the era of hickory shafted clubs and before grooved irons became standard. Still, Hoben managed to hit a 147 yard ace. The most recent ace was hit by Zach Johnson on the 191 yard 9th hole of Pinehurst no. 2. While a respectable distance, Johnson couldn’t compare to Shawn Stefani’s ace in 2013 at 229 yards at the Merion Golf Club, currently the longest ace in U.S. Open history. 

The tournament has seen 44 aces hit by 43 golfers. It was legendary golfer and now course designer Tom Weiskopf who managed to hit a hole-in-one at both the 1978 and 1982 U.S. Opens. Remarkably, the U.S. Open has also seen 3 amateurs ace a hole. Dick Chapman is the first amateur to score an ace when he sank it in one at the 1950 U.S. Open. Billy Kuntz followed suit in 1956 and another amateur would not hit a hole-in-one until Spencer Levin in 2004. 

The most memorable U.S. Open for aces occured at the 1989 U.S. Open when a remarkable 4 were scored. The tournament was hosted by Rochester’s Oak Hill Country Club and saw every hole-in-one scored on the 6th hole. This holds the record for the most aces at a U.S. Open. The golfers who hit the hole-in-ones were Drew Weaver, Mark Weibe, Jerry Pate and Nick Price. Remarkably, every ace happened in the second round and within a 2 hour window of time. Another coincidence is that each golfer used a 7-iron. 
 

List of Aces at the U.S. Open 

  • Jack Hobens, Philadelphia Cricket Club (St. Martin’s Course), Chestnut Hill, Pa., 1907
  • Eddie Towns, Skokie Country Club, Glencoe, Ill., 1922
  • Leo Diegel, Inverness Club, Toledo, Ohio, 1931
  • Zell Eaton, Baltusrol Golf Club (Upper Course), Springfield, N.J., 1936
  • Dick Chapman (amateur), Baltusrol (Lower Course), Springfield, N.J., 1954
  • Johnny Weitzel, Baltusrol (Lower Course), Springfield, N.J., 1954
  • Billy Kuntz (amateur) Oak Hill Country Club (East Course), Rochester, N.Y., 1956
  • Jerry McGee, Pebble Beach (Calif.) Golf Links, 1972
  • Bobby Mitchell, Pebble Beach, 1972
  • Pat Fitzsimmons, Medinah (Ill.) Country Club (No. 3 Course), 1975
  • Bobby Wadkins, Cherry Hills Country Club, Englewood, Colo., 1978
  • Tom Weiskopf, Cherry Hills, Englewood, Colo., 1978
  • Gary Player, Inverness Club, Toledo, Ohio, 1979
  • Tom Watson, Baltusrol (Lower Course), Springfield, N.J., 1980
  • Johnny Miller, Pebble Beach, 1982
  • Bill Brodell, Pebble Beach, 1982
  • Tom Weiskopf, Pebble Beach, 1982
  • Scott Simpson, Oakmont (Pa.) Country Club, 1983
  • Mark McCumber, Winged Foot Golf Club (West Course), Mamaroneck, N.Y., 1984
  • Ben Crenshaw, Oakland Hills Country Club (South Course), Birmingham, Mich., 1985
  • Doug Weaver, Oak Hill Country Club (East Course), Rochester, N.Y., 1989
  • Mark Wiebe, Oak Hill (East Course), Rochester, N.Y., 1989
  • Jerry Pate, Oak Hill (East Course), Rochester, N.Y., 1989
  • Nick Price, Oak Hill (East Course), Rochester, N.Y., 1989
  • Jay Don Blake, Medinah (No. 3 Course), 1990
  • John Inman, Hazeltine National Golf Club, Chaska, Minn., 1991
  • Fuzzy Zoeller, Hazeltine National, Chaska, Minn., 1991
  • Mike Hulbert, Baltusrol (Lower Course), Springfield, N.J., 1993
  • Sandy Lyle, Baltusrol (Lower Course), Springfield, N.J., 1993
  • Gary Hallberg, Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, Southampton, N.Y., 1995
  • Chris Perry, The Olympic Club (Lake Course), San Francisco, Calif., 1998
  • Todd Fischer, Pebble Beach, 2000
  • Phil Mickelson, Southern Hills Country Club, Tulsa, Okla., 2001
  • Olin Browne, Southern Hills, Tulsa, Okla., 2001
  • Shigeki Maruyama, Bethpage State Park (Black Course), Farmingdale, N.Y., 2002
  • Andy Miller, Bethpage State Park (Black Course), Farmingdale, N.Y., 2002
  • Scott Hoch, Bethpage State Park (Black Course), Farmingdale, N.Y., 2002
  • Spencer Levin (amateur), Shinnecock Hills, Southampton, N.Y., 2004
  • Peter Jacobsen, Pinehurst Resort (No. 2), Village of Pinehurst, N.C., 2005
  • Peter Hedblom, Winged Foot (West Course), Mamaroneck, N.Y., 2006
  • Thongchai Jaidee, Pebble Beach, 2010
  • John Peterson, The Olympic Club (Lake Course), San Francisco, Calif., 2012
  • Shawn Stefani, Merion Golf Club (East Course), Ardmore, Pa., 2013
  • Zach Johnson, Pinehurst Resort (No. 2), Village of Pinehurst, N.C., 2014

About The Author

Ryan Watson is a freelance sportswriter and history professor. He has been an avid fan of golf since his father signed him up for golf camp as a young child. Ryan enjoys following the professional game and learning about new equipment and gadgets.

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