Defending U.S. Open champion makes ace, neglects to watch it drop

Matt Fitzpatrick of England reacts to his shot from the 15th tee resulting in a hole in one during the second round of the 123rd U.S. Open Championship at The Los Angeles Country Club on June 16, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.

Matt Fitzpatrick had a delayed reaction to his ace.


Matt Fitzpatrick had just hit one of the most memorable shots of his career. One problem: He didn’t see it through.

On the 15th hole Friday during the second round of the U.S. Open, the defending champion flipped a wedge just beyond the flagstick on the 115-yard par-3. The ball kicked off the knob in the middle of the green and rolled into the cup for a hole-in-one.

But Fitzpatrick wasn’t watching.

The Peacock broadcast had a camera fixed on the 28-year-old Englishman as he hit the shot and stared it down until it safely hit the green. But then he looked away and started walking down toward the green.

Even as the crowd by the green grew louder as his ball inched toward the hole, Fitzpatrick didn’t flinch. When his ball found the bottom of the cup, he appeared to be looking down at his shoes.

It was only when he looked at his playing partners that someone must have told Fitzpatrick he just made his first career PGA Tour ace.

Fitzpatrick is the first defending U.S. Open champion to make an ace in the event’s history, and it came at the perfect time. Fitzpatrick shot 71 Thursday and parred his first five holes Friday, meaning he was just one shot inside the projected cut line. The hole-in-one propelled him to one under for the tournament.

A general view of the 15th hole during a practice round prior to the 123rd U.S. Open Championship at The Los Angeles Country Club on June 14, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.
Laying up on a par-3? At this U.S. Open, it’s a strategy pros are considering
By: Jack Hirsh

The ace was the third of the week at 15, which has yet to play its shortest possible length of 78 yards that is expected for Saturday. Matthieu Pavon and Sam Burns both had holes-in-one on Thursday, making this just the second U.S. Open where three or more aces have been recorded.

The 1989 U.S. Open at Oak Hill (this year’s PGA Championship host site) was the only Open to produce three or more aces, with four coming within two hours of one other during the second round. Friday marks the 34th anniversary of the legendary “Four Aces.

Jack Hirsh Editor

Jack Hirsh is an assistant editor at GOLF. A Pennsylvania native, Jack is a 2020 graduate of Penn State University, earning degrees in broadcast journalism and political science. He was captain of his high school golf team and recently returned to the program to serve as head coach. Jack also still *tries* to remain competitive in local amateurs. Before joining GOLF, Jack spent two years working at a TV station in Bend, Oregon, primarily as a Multimedia Journalist/reporter, but also producing, anchoring and even presenting the weather. He can be reached at