Si Woo Kim makes longest Major championship hole-in-one at Royal Troon on Moving Day

Today’s Golfer rewinds the 13 televised hole-in-ones at the Open Championship since the turn of the century.

Royal Troon has now seen three Aces in an Open Championship since 2000, with Si Woo Kim’s record-breaking effort on Moving Day following two Aces by previous South African winners of the Claret Jug. The Korean’s 238-yard tee shot on the 17th at Royal Troon comes 20 years after Ernie Els achieved the feat in 2004, and eight years after Louis Oosthuizen’s in 2016.

Golf’s greatest feeling off-the-tee has been fairly elusive at The Open, only cropping up once every two years on average since 2000, unlike the US Open which saw 20 Aces in the same time frame with a further two added this year at Pinehurst. The Masters also saw an Eagle-1 on 20 occasions between 2000 and 2023 with the PGA Championship seeing 16. Let’s just blame it on the British weather.

Troon offers up four “realistic” hole-in-one opportunities with the first coming at Greenan – the 220-yard 5th hole – where players must dodge a collection of pot bunkers and judge the prevailing wind from behind to perfection. Next is the iconic Postage Stamp – the shortest hole in Major Championship golf. It may be just 123 yards, but the infamous 8th hole typically plays into a headwind and due to the small putting surface and deep bunkers protecting it, every player will be happy to take their par and move on.

The Postage Stamp at Royal Troon is one of the most iconic par 3s in golf

Next to Alton – the 200-yard 14th which follows a number of brutal par-4s. Club selection is crucial here with bunkers lurking short and the green widening out long. The final opportunity is Rabbit – at a monstrous 242 yards, Troon’s final par 3 often requires a wood into the wind that avoids three cross bunkers and a devilish greenside pot bunker that can easily wreck the scorecard.

On a more optimistic note, however, Troon is one of the more Ace-friendly courses on the Open roster. The Ayrshire course has seen five of the 29 Open hole-in-ones since 1981 with only Royal St Georges being privy to more in the same time frame (6). And with just a solitary Ace in the last two editions, surely we are due another magic memory for the history books in Troon. Speaking of which, here’s our run down of Open hole-in-ones since 2000.

The Open Championship Hole-In-Ones (since 2000):

2024: Si Woo Kim | Royal Troon | 17th Hole | 238 yards

The Korean’s colorful third round of six bogeys and four birdies was made even brighter after his tee shot on the 17th hole pitched just short of the green before rolling a good 30-foot straight into the cup. The eagle took Kim back to level par for the day and +5 going into the final round.

2023: Travis Smyth | Royal Liverpool | 17th Hole | 132 yards

Before Kim’s Royal Troon Ace, the last Open hole-in-one came at Royal Liverpool in 2023 when Australian Travis Smyth, struggling along on +10, turned the disappointment of a double bogey the day before into sheer elevation with an Ace on the very same hole the next day. His perfectly judged 9-iron was tracking the flag the whole way, pitching close and diving straight in for the memorable score.

Australia's Travis Smyth celebrates his hole-in-one on the 17th on day two of the 151st British Open

“It was amazing. A little bittersweet actually. I had a shocker the day before, made a double bogey, and I was just really happy I hit a good shot because I was just so disappointed from the day before. It was a huge surprise that it went in the hole, said the Australian.

“It was just the perfect distance, perfect wind, and the club. Everything just kind of came together, and it was a moment I’ll never forget.”

2021: Jonathan Thomson | Royal St George’s | 16th Hole | 163 yards

The English 6ft 9 golfer’s Ace came on the very same hole that Tony Jacklin made the first hole-in-one shown on live television in 1967. Thomson’s approach was perfect for distance, landing on the downslope at the front of the 16th hole, jumping forward before digging its heels in, spinning left, and disappearing into the bottom of the cup.

“Me and my caddie were having a chat – it was right in between gap wedge and wedge. He told me it was a hard gap wedge and to tell you the truth I probably pushed it a few yards, said Thomson.

“We couldn’t see it go in and then we saw the hands go up in the crowd and the noise was just phenomenal.”

2019: Emiliano Grillo | Royal Portrush | 13th Hole | 194 yards

The Argentine’s approach to the 13th on the Northern Irish links pitched well short, taking a huge hop over a ridge and down the other side with a perfect line and pace as it rolled toward its destiny which looked more inevitable with every revolution. Unbelievably though, Grillo launched the ball into the crowd on collection…I think I’d have kept that one!

2016: Louis Oosthuizen | Royal Troon | 14th Hole | 200 yards

Troon’s last hole-in-one came eight years ago when 2010 Champion Louis Oosthuizen’s measured swing kissed the front of the green and sauntered a short distance into the hole. Remarkably, Oosthuizen bagged himself another Major Ace just months earlier at the Masters. And if you haven’t seen that one before, check out the video below of one of the craziest televised hole-in-ones ever.

2015: Daniel Brooks | St Andrews | 11th Hole | 163 yards

Despite failing to make the cut in his only Major appearance to date, England’s Daniel Brooks at least left the ‘Home of Golf’ with a pretty special memory. His approach to the front pin on a blustery day at St Andrews sat down quickly on the putting surface and raced straight into the hole.

2012: Anirban Lahiri | Royal Lytham | 9th Hole | 149 yards

The Indian golfer landed his tee shot pin high on Royal Lytham’s 9th hole, pitching perfectly on the shoulder of the green and taking the slope back toward the hole, dropping in dead weight for an eagle he’ll never forget. Today, Lahiri plys his trade on the LIV Tour as part of the Bryson DeChambeau-led Crushers GC.

Anirban Lahiri won the Hero Indian Open in 2015

2011: Tom Watson | Royal St George’s | 6th Hole | 178 yards

What a moment. The eight-time Major winner rolled back the years when his 7-iron into the wind made a beeline for the pin, pitching within a few feet and slam-dunking in on the second bounce to send the St George’s crowd wild. Take a bow Tom Watson…and that’s exactly what he did.

2011: Dustin Johnson | Royal St George’s | 16th Hole | 163 yards

The future Major winner got his round back on track at Royal St George’s when his big looping draw to the 163-yard 16th found the bottom of the cup on the same hole as Tony Jacklin made the first televised hole-in-one in 1967. Johnson was four over par for his round on the 14th tee before a run of birdie, birdie, eagle brought him back level for the day. He went on to finish T2 in what is his best Open performance to date.

Dustin Johnson looks relaxed during the second round of the 150th Open.

2006: Richard Sterne | Royal Liverpool | 15th Hole | 161 yards

Against the backdrop of the River Dee Estuary, South African Richard Sterne grabbed himself a piece of Major history with an Open Championship Ace. The six-time European Tour winner pitched his approach six feet from the hole before spinning in the right direction and dropping to the delight of the Wirral crowd.

2006: John Senden | Royal Liverpool | 13th Hole | 198 yards

A treble bogey just two holes beforehand was put to bed at the 13th for Australian John Senden after his perfectly judged tee shot tracked the flag, rolling up to the hole as if he’d taken a putter, getting better and better until it dropped. The Ace was the second of the Championship after Richard Sterne’s effort the day before.

“It was exciting and will jog my memory when I’m thinking about this place. I didn’t see it go in as there was a hill just short of the green. All I saw was the top half of the flag,” said the Australian.

John Senden won twice on the PGA Tour with his last title coming in 2014

2004: Ernie Els | Royal Troon | 8th Hole | 122 yards

The last Open hole-in-one at the iconic Postage Stamp came in 2004 when the ‘Big Easy’ struck a trademark iron into the heart of the narrow green where it skipped past the hole before putting the breaks on and hopping sideways and backward into the hole.

2001: Frank Lickliter II | Royal Lytham | 5th Hole | 217 yards

The American two-time PGA Tour winner had a day to remember at Royal Lytham, catching the crowd off guard when his tee shot pitched short on the green before taking a couple of healthy hops forward and racing into the hole.

About the author

Ross Tugwood is a Senior Digital Writer for Today's Golfer.

Ross Tugwood

Senior Digital Writer

Ross Tugwood is a Senior Digital Writer for, specializing in data, analytics, science, and innovation.

Ross is passionate about optimizing sports performance and has a decade of experience working with professional athletes and coaches for British Athletics, the UK Sports Institute, and Team GB.

He is an NCTJ-accredited journalist with post-graduate degrees in Performance Analysis and Sports Journalism, enabling him to critically analyze and review the latest golf equipment and technology to help you make better-informed buying decisions.

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