Hoffman eases Masters aches with final-round ace

Charley Hoffman's hole-in-one was the 20th ace ever recorded at the 16th hole in Masters competition

Augusta (United States) (AFP) – Charley Hoffman enlivened the final round of the 82nd Masters on Sunday with an unlikely hole-in-one at the par-3 16th hole.

Hoffman was just hoping his 6-iron off the tee at the 170-yard hole would clear the lip of the bunker.

It did, barely, then kicked straight toward the cup for the 20th ace ever recorded at 16.

“Carry the bunker,” was Hoffman’s only thought after the shot. “I saw it bounce and I’m like, ‘Whoa, that’s got a chance,’ and I think my caddie yelled, ‘Go in,’” he said.

“I saw the crowd’s hands go up and the thing fell,” said Hoffman, whose celebration may have been tempered by the knowledge of the mishap that befell playing partner Tony Finau, who dislocated an ankle celebrating a hole-in-one during the Masters Par-3 Contest on Wednesday.

Finau, who wasn’t sure he’d be able to make his Thursday tee time, turned in a stellar final round, carding six straight brides from the 12th through the 17th on the way to a six-under 66.

Finau missed out on the Masters record birdie streak of seven, but finished tied for 10th on 281 — eight shots behind winner Patrick Reed.

He said he didn’t even realize he had six birdies in a row until his caddie told him.

“I was kind of in a zone,” he said. “I thought I gave up a lot of shots with the putter early and yesterday and today just not playing what I felt like to my standard. I really put my head down. I wanted a good finish.”

Finau said the adrenaline of a major championship helped carry him through despite his injury.

He said his foot was purple Sunday morning, and after walking the rolling terrain of Augusta National for another day he was planning a little time off.

“I’m going to need some rest,” he said. “I don’t believe I’ve done any further damage. I just need to rest.”

Hoffman’s final-round 67 left him tied for 12th on 282 — enough to punch his ticket to next year’s Masters.

He was pleased to turn in a solid final round after the disappointment of last year, when he led after the first and second rounds, went into the last day sharing fourth and carded a 78 to finish tied for 22nd.

“First and foremost, 352 days ago I wasn’t very happy walking off this golf course and today I am,” Hoffman said.