June 16 2013
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
ARDMORE, Pa. -- Shawn Stefani may be among those bringing up the rear at the U.S. Open but he made the week memorable with a birdie at the 17th hole on Sunday.
Stefani used a 4-iron on the 246-yard par 3 for the second hole-in-one of his life. He was 13 when he made the other one at Goose Creek Country Club in Baytown, Texas.
The ace is the only one ever made at Merion during the five U.S. Opens the fabled course has hosted. It's the 43rd in U.S. Open history.
Stefani's ball hit in the rough on the left bank and bounced onto the green, then rolled about 50 feet across the putting surface and fell into the hole. Stefani jumped up and down on the tee, hugged his caddy and high-fived Kyle Stanley, then walked down into the amphitheater to retreive the ball.
"It was kind of funny because I jumped up and really didn't know what to do," Stefani said. " ... But obviously all the guys that were around, gave them high fives. ... Then Scott Van Pelt was over there and I kind of walked over to him, I go, that's probably going to be a No. 1 on Sportscenter tonight. Which would be kind of cool."
Before he left the green and walked to the 18th tee, Stefani walked over to the bank and kissed the ground where his ball bounced. He has now played the hole in 1 under after making two pars and a bogey, as well.
"There's some great fans up here and I know they can be tough on you and they can love you foreve," Stefani said. "So I'm sure they appreciated me going to the ground and kissing it, because obviously the ground is where the kick started and the ball kicking right and going on the green."
Stefani bogeyed the 18th hole but still ended up with a 69, his first sub-par round of the week. He opened with solid rounds of 72 and 73 but ran into trouble on Saturday, shooting an 85.
"I actually had a great week," Stefani said. "It started last week when I qualified for the U.S. Open and started the week off really well and played solid. Played solid the first two days. Unfortunately, I had a rough day yesterday, which you start hitting it crooked out here and that can happen.
"And I just kind of went out today with the attitude of just go have some fun and enjoy it. And to end the way I did with an ace on 17 and to have the crowd go crazy, the fans go crazy and everything was just, it was definitely a very positive experience at the end of it."