Axlund makes late ace on way to winning Colorado Mid-Amateur
Ryan Axlund (Colorado Golf Association)
Ryan Axlund (Colorado Golf Association)

When you’re in the hunt for a state title, a hole-in-one never hurts. That was Ryan Axlund’s story Sunday at the Colorado Mid-Amateur. Axlund made an ace on the 16th hole at Legacy Ridge Golf Course in Westminster, Colo., to greatly help his cause in winning the title.

Axlund hit a 3-iron from 245 yards at the par-3 16th, but here’s the kicker: The ball flew straight into the cup without causing any damage or hopping out.

“I was so excited to see it go in, I just lost it,” the 38-year-old from Valley Country Club said of dunking it for the hole-in-one. “It was disbelief that it actually disappeared. But I absolutely flushed it and it was right on the flagstick the entire way. To see it disappear, it was a second of shock, then ‘Holy Crap!’

“That was an unbelievable break.”

Axlund had taken a three-shot lead into the final round, but the ace on his third-to-last hole all but ended the tournament in his favor. To make matters better for Axlund, three-time mid-amateur champion Jon Lindstrom made bogey from a bunker at No. 16, which put Axlund’s lead at six shots.

Desite going bogey-par the final two holes, Axlund still finished with a final-round 2-under 70 for a 7-under total that left him four shots ahead of Lindstrom. It was Axlund’s first CGA title.

“That’s one of the hardest holes on the course, especially from 245,” said two-time champion Chris Thayer of Walnut Creek Golf Preserve, who was paired with Axlund all three days of the tournament. “He was hitting it pure like that (the entire event). That 3-iron just never left (the flag). It was cool. He almost broke my hand on the high-five. How often do you see that with three holes to go (from the champion)?”

The ace was the second of Axlund’s career, but first since he was 14 years old — 24 years ago. This was also by far his longest hole-in-one and his first one in a tournament.

Quotes and information from the Colorado Golf Association used in this report

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ABOUT THE Colorado Mid-Amateur

Active CGA members. 54 holes of stroke play. A 36- hole cut will be made to the low 40 players and ties. A player must be 25 years of age or older as of the first day of a tournament. Non-exempt players must pre-qualify.

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