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Slow pace, lose the ace: slow play penalty negates hole-in-one

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There's nothing quite like sinking a hole-in-one -- or so we've heard, anyway. But now just imagine the exultation of nailing an ace in competition followed by a stomach punch when it's taken away.

Meet Connor Klein, a player in the 64th U.S. Junior Amateur at the Gold Mountain Golf Club in Bremerton, Wash. Klein sank an ace on the 170-yard par-3 fifth hole. Joy, right? Problem was, Klein and the two other members of his threesome had already been warned about slow play. And on the fifth hole, the hammer came down:

One-stroke penalty. That fancy ace turned into a still-nice but more routine birdie.

The threesome appealed to the USGA, but for reasons that are unclear in the original article, only Klein's penalty was upheld. As the article noted, the tournament's top official took a resigned approach:

"It's a birdie," said the USGA's David Staebler, director of the Junior Amateur tournament, shrugging his shoulders.

Staebler said it's the first time he's ever seen that happen in a tournament.

Slow play is, of course, the bane of every weekend hacker's existence, and contributes to long delays in tournament broadcasts, as well. But to penalize a kid and take away his ace? The kid better have been grabbing a nap for that to happen. Safe bet he sprints between holes from here on out.

[Visor tip: Waggle Room. Photo via ConnorKlein.com]

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