February 10 2011
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- In case you were wondering, he didn't see the ball sneak into the hole.
The way the marshals and that handful of fans were cheering, though, Alex Cejka knew his second shot on the par-5 10th hole at Monterey Peninsula Country Club had to be good.
The albatross Cejka made with a 3-wood from 240 yards -- his second shot of the day -- was the first of his career. It sparked him to a round of 64 that left him 6 under and one stroke off the pace being set by Steve Marino and D.A. Points
According to PGA TOUR records dating back to 1982, no one has ever started a tournament with a double eagle. But the last player to open a round with an albatross is Tim Petrovic in the third round of the 2007 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am at Poppy Hills.
"There were like four marshals and three or four people," Cejka said. "Once the ball was rolling towards the hole they got louder and louder, and suddenly everybody was raising up their hands.
"We knew it either lipped out, it's very close, or it's in. But it's tough to see because it's an uphill shot."
Cejka has a pretty good track record on the Monterey Peninsula after tying for 10th at last year's AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and eighth four months later at the U.S. Open. The albatross, though, was something really special.
"I hit it solid," Cejka said. "I was going down the left hand side because it's a big slope in front of the green. I hit it just right. You know, this is luck. Even hole-in-ones or shots like this, this is always 80 percent luck.
"You can hit a great shot, but it took the break perfectly. You can't judge that from 240 yards. It was one of those great shots what I will remember for the rest of my life."
Cejka then birdied the 12th and 13th holes to move to 5 under through four holes, but he gave some of that back with three bogeys over his next four. He played his final 11 holes in 4 under to polish off the 64, though.
"Overall, it was a great day," Cejka said. "I hit a lot of good shots and I putted well. ...
"Every player has a couple courses out here where he always plays well. ... How can you not love it here? It's great. I come here with a great attitude, and so far I've been playing well. I hope it's going to continue like this." – Helen Ross