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Golfer produces ‘incredible’ hole-in-one to make US Open cut

<i>John Angelillo/UPI/Shutterstock via CNN Newsource</i><br/>Francesco Molinari hits out of the rough to the eighth green during the second round.
John Angelillo/UPI/Shutterstock via CNN Newsource
Francesco Molinari hits out of the rough to the eighth green during the second round.

By Issy Ronald, CNN

(CNN) — As Francesco Molinari stepped up to the tee on Friday, he knew he needed a hole-in-one to make the cut and remain in the US Open. It seemed not just unlikely but almost impossible, a pipedream that had a 0.02% chance of coming true, according to stats website data golf, requiring some perfect mixture of luck and skill to produce a miraculous shot on his last hole under the most intense pressure.

But Molinari took out his seven-iron on the 194-yard par-three ninth, and his shot landed on the edge of the green before rolling all the way into the hole as he staggered to the side and dropped his shoulders in disbelief.

“What are the chances, really? I don’t even know what to say,” the 41-year-old Italian told reporters afterward. “Just incredible.”

After his hole-in-one, Molinari finished on five-over-par at Pinehurst No. 2 in North Carolina, sneaking inside the cut at the last opportunity.

And the 2018 Open Championship winner admitted that he had thought almost all hope of staying in the tournament was lost when he bogeyed the eighth leaving himself with two shots to make up on the last hole.

“I just bogeyed eight,” he said. “I was hoping I was able to par eight and then having to make two at nine. With that flag, if you hit a good shot, you can get it within birdie range, but when I dropped a shot at eight … Standing on the ninth tee it was just put a good swing on it and see what happens.”

His playing partners Min Woo Lee and Sergio Garcia celebrated with him as he made the cut for only the second time from eight tournaments on the PGA Tour this year.

“Sergio was walking in front of me and he raised his hands when the ball was still five meters from the hole and I wanted to tell him, ‘Come on, don’t jinx me,’” Molinari told Sky Sports.

“I haven’t been making a lot of cuts in the last few weeks, I’ve been there or thereabouts and just falling short so it’s nice to see one going my way. Hopefully the first of a few,” he added.

The ninth hole proved lucky for Austria’s Sepp Straka too as he made his first ace on the PGA Tour earlier that day, and also made the cut at two over.

Molinari teed off for the third round at 8:55 a.m. ET on Saturday.

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