|Taken from SportsLine.com|
|Golf fan finds green with
By Ward Clayton
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- The butterflies started Sunday night and continued on Monday morning as Stan Gierlaszynski prepared for his own moment of glory at the Tournament Players Club at Sawgrass. The 46-year-old from St. Ignace, Mich., had one shot for $1 million to the famous island green at the par-3 17th hole on the Stadium Course as part of the Golf Digest Million-Dollar Moment presented by MasterCard, a promotion dedicated to the 30th anniversary of THE PLAYERS Championship."It's a scary, scary shot," Gierlaszynski said. "I started thinking about it last night and it was the first time I got nervous."
One day after the completion of THE PLAYERS Championship, Gierlaszynski was met by a stiff wind in his face on the 17th hole. He chose a 6-iron for the 137-yard shot. It was his first shot of the day as part of an afternoon shotgun start. Hit it within a 30-inch radius of the cup and he would win $500,000 and a matching donation to The First Tee program on his behalf. The hole for Gierlaszynski's attempt was cut in its usual back-right position from Sunday's final round of THE PLAYERS Championship.
Gierlaszynski pulled the tee shot to the left side of the green, where it stopped pin high approximately 50 feet from the hole. He two-putted for par, sinking a 6-foot putt to complete the hole.
"I got it on the green, so I'm happy I did that," Gierlaszynski said. "It would have been nice to win the big prize, especially for charity. But I'm just glad I got the opportunity. Thanks to Golf Digest, the PGA TOUR and MasterCard for giving me this chance. I'm happy it's over. Now I can relax."
His score was better than the 3.043 average by the professionals on the 17th hole during last week's PLAYERS Championship. The average distance second shots last week was 24 feet, 1 inch, and only four PLAYERS Championship participants hit their tee shots within the 30-inch radius during the tournament.
Gierlaszynski was among more than 10,000 people who submitted selections to Golf Digest and PGA TOUR.COM on the greatest moments in PLAYERS Championship history. He was then randomly chosen from the database of sweepstakes entrants to take part in the Golf Digest Million-Dollar Moment. Gierlaszynski won a lifetime subscription to Golf Digest, a pair of golf shoes, golf balls, a golf bag and a MasterCard gift card worth $500.
A "mid-teens" handicap golfer, Gierlaszynski spends part of the year in northern Michigan, where he owns a family restaurant and bar with his wife, Karen. They spend their winters in Tucson, Ariz.
In preparation for the Golf Digest Million-Dollar Moment, Gierlaszynski played golf several days in Alabama with a group of friends before attending THE PLAYERS Championship last week, where he was a spectator at all four rounds of the tournament, which was won by Davis Love III.