by Roz Roberts III
Michael Thompson came to the eighth hole at TPC Sawgrass needing a little momentum and, boy, did he find it.
The day had gotten off to a great start when Michael had three consecutive birdies on holes 11 through 13 which left him at three under par after just four holes. Unfortunately, a wayward tee shot on hole #14 led to a bogey and his round sort of stalled from there. Missed birdie putts on 15 and 17 prevented the round from really taking off and when Michael made the turn on hole #1 things got a little dicey. A three putt bogey on hole #1 was followed by a bounce back birdie but two more bogeys in the next three holes left Michael back at even par lingering around the cut line.
After a couple of pars Michael came to the 233 yard par 3 eight hole in search of something special. Charl Swartzel was the first to tee off and he knocked his tee shot to 2 feet 5 inches. It was the closest approach of the day.
Not to be outdone, Michael followed with a beauty of his own. A three iron, struck perfectly, found the green and began to track towards the hole. Michael said,
We were kind of watching and it landed pretty similar to Charl's, and a couple people behind me said, go in, disappear, disappear, and we saw it tracking. It was kind of like that Golf Tee video game where the ball just kind of, boop, disappears, and then obviously the crowd confirmed it.The ball found the bottom of the cup for Michael's first hole in one on the PGA Tour. It was only the 6th ace on hole #8 in Players Championship history and the first since 2000.
Michael followed the ace with a birdie on his last hole of the day - the par 5 #9. The eagle-birdie finish left him at three under par and tied for 17th going into tomorrow's second round.
The ace on hole # 8 wasn't Michael's only highlight on a par three on Thursday. He also landed his tee shot on the par 3 13th hole to about 3 and half feet.
Michael will once again be paired with Charl Swartzel and Chris Kirk. They tee off from the first hole at 8:29am ET.
Michael on Shot Tracker
Michael's Group on Shot Tracker