Ace move: Kuchar gives Masters hole-in-one ball to young fan

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — To get an autographed, hole-in-one ball handed to you at the Masters sounds like a golf fan’s dream. Matt Kuchar made an entire family’s dream come true.

Kuchar gave the ball he used to ace the par-3 16th hole on Sunday to 10-year-old Owen Lockaby of Bradenton, Florida, who comes from a family of Masters fans. Owen was wearing a straw hat like golf great Sam Snead wore. It was adorned with a button Augusta National gave out as a tribute to the late Arnold Palmer.

Kuchar hit a 7-iron off the tee from 170 yards away, landing it just right of the green. Then he and the gallery watched the ball curve toward the cup and roll in.

After Kuchar retrieved the ball, he signed it and handed it to Owen.

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“I figured this would make a kid’s day and make a kid’s year,” Kuchar said. “It’s one of the neat things that we can do.”

The 16th hole typically provides the best chances for a hole-in-one. Last year, there were three aces there, and all of them occurred Sunday.

Kuchar said he did not know Lockaby, that he just noticed the Snead-style hat and said, “That’s the kid I’m giving it to.”

Owen was still stunned by Kuchar’s gift long after the golfer moved on.

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“I just sat there. Then Matt gave me the ball,” Owen told The Florida Times-Union.

His mom, Tracy Lockaby, told the newspaper that Owen’s father, Jay, has been coming to the Masters for 30 years, and Owen has never missed one. She said she got him the hat “because I thought it might get him noticed for some autographs.”

Good move.