Berger Makes History With Albatross At No. 6


Daniel Berger has yet to score a hole-in-one in competition, but Saturday on the par-5 sixth hole of the Championship Course here at Bay Hill Club & Lodge he made his second career albatross - and the first in the history of the Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard.

Berger, a PGA TOUR rookie, holed out from 237 yards using a 4-iron on the same hole where earlier in the day Ernie Els made an 8. His shot barely cleared the water, landed on the fringe and rolled straight in. His round also included an eagle at the par-5 16th as he shot a 4- under 68 for 7-under 209.

"[I should] keep playing par-5s," joked Berger, 21, who also made the rare 3-under-par score during an AJGA event. "That's what you're trying to do: make it from the fairway.

"It was right on that borderline between going for it and not going for it," he continued. "Little bit on the downhill lie. I hit a big iron. I flushed it. It landed perfect, and I didn't see it go in, but the way the crowd reacted I figured it was either in or close. When I got up there it was pretty cool to pick the ball up out of hole."

A former Palmer Cup player, Berger nearly won his first PGA TOUR event three weeks ago at the Honda Classic, but fell in a playoff to Padraig Harrington. Now he's making more news.

"It was special, especially over here, Mr. Palmer's event," said Berger, who gave the ball to a kid in the gallery. "It was just a lot of fun today. "I'm in history now - part of history."

In other news Saturday:

  • Sam Saunders birdied four of his last seven holes Friday to work his way back inside the cutline, the fourth time in six starts at Bay Hill that he’s played on the weekend. He followed with his best round in the tournament Saturday, a 5-under 67 that gives him a strong chance for his third straight op-25 finish. "You know, it has been a good last 27 holes. Got off to a nice start today, unlike yesterday," said Saunders, who was 9 under in the aforementioned stretch. "Settled into the round early and really hit the ball well all day long, and actually I hit 17 greens today and, unfortunately, the one I missed I made double on which is disappointing but overall very pleased with the round."
  • Just one more example of why golf is tough to figure out. Take Brandt Snedeker, who shot 66 early Saturday. He didn't see it coming. "Golf is funny. I had a great warm-up session yesterday and played terrible, couldn't sink a putt. Today I had a terrible warm-up session and played really, well," said Snedeker, a MasterCard ambassador who hasn’t missed a start at Bay Hill since his debut in 2007. "I've got no clue what the right answer is but played really nice."
  • Justin Thomas, one of the top rookie performers this season, may have registered the most unconventional par this week. At the par-5 sixth Thomas hit his approach into the water. His fourth, from 218 yards, found the front of the green, and from there Thomas holed the putt. From 70 feet.