Japan's Satoshi Kodaira accomplished a rare feat on Thursday, carding a double-eagle on the par-5 first at Colonial Country Club. It's just the second time it's happened in the history of the Fort Worth Invitational.
But there's something that has never happened in the tournament's history -- an ace on the par-3 fourth. Watching the best in the world take it on may explain why.
Jon Rahm, the fourth-best player in the world, Rickie Fowler, the sixth, and Bryson DeChambeau, the 39th, have combined to win seven PGA Tour events between them and were one of the marquee pairings on Thursday. None of them found the green on No. 4.
Rahm and Fowler were off the green to the right, and DeChambeau came up short. All of them settled for par.
Par shouldn't come as a surprise. That's what the majority of the field did with 90 pars on the day, along with 22 birdies and nine bogeys.
Even though No. 5, the par-4 dogleg right, is the hardest hole on the course with its narrow fairway, No. 4 is the only hole that has never been eagled in one of the 72 professional tournaments in this course’s history.
"It’s a really hard hole,” said Jhonattan Vegas, who carded one of the 22 birdies there Thursday.
"We were treated nicely today, playing close to 200 yards with the greens a little soft and down wind. I hit a really good 7-iron there to 10-feet and we were able to make one. Obviously holes that, you know when they’re coming, you better have your concentration up."
No. 4 is in the middle of the famed 'Horrible Horseshoe,' spanning Nos. 3-5. It may be the easiest hole to par in that stretch, but it’s proven among the hardest to do much better. As stated, no player has ever aced the hole in tournament play.
This is a course that has now seen two players, George Burns in 1978 and Kodaira this year, make a double-eagle on the par-5 first. In other words, the best score in tournament history on the 572-yard first is the same as the 247-yard fourth.
Yes, a hole-in-one is a rarity even for the best players in the world, but it’s surprising it’s yet to happen on No. 4.
"Four is a tough par-3," Fowler said. "Really, all you’re trying to do – today you could get it fairly close if you hit a good shot – but you’re really just trying to get middle of the green, two-putt and walk away."
The closest to the pin on the day was Ben Crane, who knocked it to within 1 foot, 9 inches. Aaron Wise, fresh off his win last week at the AT&T Byron Nelson, stuck it to 3 feet, 4 inches. Others put it close, too, such as Nicholas Lindheim (4 feet, 10 inches).
But the best this field has to offer didn't fare great on it even in its easiest conditions. Thursday saw the hole play at 205 yards, instead of possibly 250, with the pin up.
Jordan Spieth was visibly upset with himself when he couldn’t drain his 18-foot birdie putt. Other top-ranked players such as Rahm, Fowler, Justin Rose and Brooks Koepka settled for par as well.
"It was a 6-iron for me,” Rahm said. "When you’re back there, it’s 250 yards and you don’t know if you want to hit a wood or a really long iron, depending where the pin is. Now the struggle of hitting the green is real cause if you land it anywhere past the middle of the green, you’re probably going too long. It’s not the easiest up-and-down. It really depends on the setup.
"If they put the pin over the bunkers and back tee, you can be really satisfied with a three to be honest. Any birdie chance say goodbye and try to take a three. Today, it wasn’t as hard as it could be."
That’s why players were pleased if they walked away with a birdie. It essentially felt like they stole a stroke on the course.
But another round is in the books and No. 4 remains ace-proof. The rest of the par-3s have given up their fair share. There’s been 12 hole-in-ones on No. 13; 10 on No. 16; and nine on No. 8.
Still, don’t expect No. 4 to take the “hardest hole” label anytime soon. It’s just been the hardest to eagle.
"Five, I think by far, is the hardest hole on the course," Fowler said.