Mark Hubbard explains 'embarrassing' hole-in-one at Rocket Mortgage Classic
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Written by Cameron Morfit @CMorfitPGATOUR
Mark Hubbard makes surprising hole-in-one on No. 11 at Rocket Mortgage
DETROIT – Mark Hubbard had made a hole-in-one eight times heading into the first round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic. He knew what it felt like. Heck, his eighth ace came “after I had dropped about 100 beers” at Baker’s Bay in the Bahamas, so he thought he knew enough to cast quick judgement of his 216-yard tee shot at the 11th hole at Detroit Golf Club.
Disgusted with what felt like another right miss, Hubbard let go of the club with both hands on his follow-through, but when he looked up he saw that the ball had taken off neither too far right nor too far left. It was soaring directly at the pin.
“Dude, that better not go in,” said Wyndham Clark, one of his playing partners.
It did, of course, touching off a celebration that surprised no one more than Hubbard himself.
“I mean, honestly, it was pretty embarrassing,” he said after signing for a 4-under 68, four behind early leaders Tony Finau and Taylor Pendrith. “Didn't quite know where the ball was going today. Taking a week off and whatever I just didn't feel as spot on and I think I let go of the club on about three of the last four shots as well and they all ended up OK. I just felt really stuck and I thought it was going to be way right of the green.
“I looked up and it was a perfect 1-yard draw,” he continued. “… It landed and trickled in like a putt. Yeah, I think that's probably going to end up being one of my favorite hole-in-ones I ever had just because of the situation.”
No one gave him any high-fives, he added, and given his reaction upon contact, he said, he did not deserve them.
The hole-in-one was part of a Hubbard revival this season, as he has gone 4th(Barracuda Championship), 3rd (Barbasol Championship) and T13 (John Deere Classic) in his last three starts, securing his spot in the upcoming FedExCup Playoffs at 81st. This, from a guy who began the season in someone tenuous position, playing out of the FedExCup 125-150 category.
The big transformation owes to Hubbard starting to work with Scottsdale-based instructor Andy Patnou this season. By melding elements of his new swing with his old swing under coach Kevin Kirk, he said, he has made his swing his own.
“I think I've just taken a lot of ownership over my game this year,” he said. “And I've worked hard at it, and when you do that kind of on your own and it becomes so much your own, it holds up under pressure and confidence just kind of grows from there versus what I was doing for a long time, which is kind of trying to do stuff that isn't inherently me and unique in me.
“I just feel I'm swinging my swing now more than ever,” he added.
Even with the occasional no-handed follow-through.
Cameron Morfit began covering the PGA TOUR with Sports Illustrated in 1997, and after a long stretch at Golf Magazine and golf.com joined PGATOUR.COM as a Staff Writer in 2016. Follow Cameron Morfit on Twitter.