DETROIT – Russell Knox scrolled through social media last night and stopped to read a post from Lou Stagner, who goes by the nickname Golf Stat Pro, claiming that a PGA Tour pro is more likely to make an ace than hit all 18 greens.
According to his data, the chance a player hits all 18 greens happens once every 582 rounds while the chances of a hole-in-one is once every 563 rounds. On Friday, Knox mentioned this to his fellow playing competitors Joaquin Niemann and Garrick Higgo on the 15th hole and that’s when it hit him.
“I had no idea that I had hit every green. I started doing the math and I was a little nervous over my second shot at 18 because I knew I hadn’t chipped all day,” Knox said.
Knox knocked that approach on the green to complete a perfect 18 of 18 greens in regulation. He recalled he once hit every fairway and green in a round at a Korn Ferry Tour event in Omaha, Nebraska. But the last time he hit every green in regulation? Glad you asked: It was the third round of the 2016 Sentry Tournament of Champions.
“I play terribly in Maui,” Knox said.
He’s dialed in so far in Detroit, shooting a second-round 7-under 65 at Detroit Golf Club to climb into contention at the Rocket Mortgage Classic. Knox made eight birdies and one bogey, including six birdies in a seven-hole stretch beginning at No. 8. The 36-year-old native Scotsman missed the cut last week at the Travelers Championship but had already forgotten about his subpar performance.
“I needed a round like today, just to be like, OK, things are good, I know I’m swinging good, nice kind of pat on the back, let’s hammer down. My game has been there for months. I just haven’t done it yet. But today was a nice day where it was there,” he said.
Knox leads the field this week in Strokes Gained: Approach the Green and proximity to the hole. He averaged 14 feet, 7 inches in the second round on a day when gusting winds made judging club selection challenging. But the wind is Knox’s friend.
“I need the wind, I think, to bring out the creativity in my game,” he said. “I know my caddie (Bradley Whittle) prays for wind every day.”
The wind treated Knox well on Friday, all the way to a rare achievement. Although for the record, Scott Brown made an ace on the 15th tee, proving that the second round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic was the rare chance to see both a hole-in-one and 18 of 18 greens in regulation. Hey, Lou, what are the odds of seeing both in one round?