allianz

The Eagle That Ended the 2017 Allianz Championship

How Scott McCarron Won This Year’s Top Prize

allianz

Scott McCarron with the first place trophy at Allianz. Photo by Charlie Anderson.

As the golfers roved along the sprawling green, they were followed by a whispering legion of pastel fans resembling Easter eggs—women dressed in pink and green Lilly Pulitzer wrap dresses, men in varying shades of blue T-shirts and khaki shorts.

Swing after swing, applause after applause (and occasional collective groans), this year’s Allianz Championship, which took place on the Old Course at Broken Sound this weekend, culminated to three players by Sunday afternoon: Kenny Perry, Carlos Franco and Scott McCarron.

Though the trio was tied by the time the players reached the 18th and final segment of the tournament—a par-5 hole—only one of them turned the ball into a winning eagle (two strokes under par) when he struck it.

McCarron, 51, looked across the 507-yard green, steadied his hands, and with a confident stroke, whipped his club through the air. The ball took flight in the sky. The setting sun’s glare, however, blinded him from seeing exactly where it landed.

“As soon as I hit it, I couldn’t see it at all, just went right in the sun so I had no idea—but it felt good,” McCarron says.

Good it was.

Though blinded, McCarron could hear the crowd in the far distance—the people surrounding the 18th cup “oohed” and “aahed,” then enthusiastically applauded. The ball landed about seven feet from the cup!

Once on the hill, surrounded by the grandstands filled with breathless spectators, McCarron tapped the eagle and sunk it into the hole, earning the first place title and a $262,500 prize. It was his second victory in the last four champion events for Allianz champ McCarron.

Immediately after winning, his wife, Jenny, leapt into his arms. “All wins are exciting, but this one, to be able to finish it off the way I did, [was] really something special,” McCarron says. “It was a very good day.”

Beyond McCarron’s win, this year’s Allianz Championship (pronounced: Ahh-lee-ahnz) also won a new distinction. Rebecca Seelig, a spokesperson for event says that the 2017 Allianz Championship at Broken Sound had the largest turnout on record. “Attendance was 12,000 on Friday, 14,000 on Saturday and 16k on Sunday,” she says.

Photo by Jonathan Kendall.

Photo by Jonathan Kendall.

Jonathan Kendall is an editor and writer based in South Florida. He writes for several award-winning publications, and is a 2016 graduate of Harvard University, where he studied journalism under several Nieman fellows. His byline appears in Atlas Obscura, Bal Harbour Magazine, bocamag.com, Cultured, Miami New Times, New Times Broward-Palm Beach and more.