There’s one round complete at the Arnold Palmer Invitational after its namesake’s passing. And there’s already been at least one magical moment.
Sam Saunders, Palmer’s grandson, is competing this week at Bay Hill Club & Lodge. It wasn’t a strong opening round for Saunders, as he posted a 2-over 74 on Thursday to sit T-58. That round included a double bogey at 18.
That can’t feel good, but hey, he can hold onto an incredible moment at the previous hole. Saunders, coming off a bogey, entered the par-3 17th even par for the round.
He then lasered his tee shot right at the flag. We mean right at it. Saunders almost jarred the tee shot for the eeriest of aces.
Honestly, a bit unlucky. Saunders hit the flagstick on the fly and the ball landed about an inch right of the hole before scurrying nearly 11 feet away.
Think about it: This is Arnold Palmer’s grandson in his first round at his grandfather’s event after the golfing legend’s death. That hole-in-one would have been unbelievable.
Instead, Saunders missed that 10-footer for par and had his rough close. Still, even if we didn’t get that hole-in-one, the near-ace seemed to show that Palmer’s spirit remains in full effect at Bay Hill.