Friday, Mo Martin tucked a good luck charm inside her golf bag for the opening round of the TOTO Japan Classic.
She was unaware of the fortune it would soon deliver.
At her final hole of the day, the par 3, 9th hole, the shorter hitter took a little extra club. She hit 5-wood at the 178-yard hole. The ball took two bounces short of the hole and rolled in for her ninth career hole-in-one and first on Tour since 2016.
“Number nine on nine, walk-off home run,” Martin joked about her ace. “It just landed perfectly and skipped in there.”
That wasn’t the first time she got lucky in Japan.
As a junior golfer, Martin competed four times as a member of Team U.S.A at the Japan World Cup. During the 1990s it was one of the premiere junior golf events in the world. In 1991, when Martin was 8-years-old, she won the individual title.
“I love playing in front of the Japanese fans,” Martin said Friday. “I feel like they appreciate good golf and know what good golf is.”
During that trip in 1991, Martin befriended and has since kept in touch with Megumi Asso, a Japanese player. Wednesday, the pair reunited for a day trip to Fushimi Castle. That’s where Asso’s mother purchased the good luck trinket that Martin had in her golf bag on Friday.
“Maybe we have good luck,” Martin said. Her playing partner was feeling it, too.
Martin went out in one of the first groups of the day with Pernilla Lindberg and Chae-Young Yoon. As the group made the turn, Lindberg holed out for eagle at the par 5, 1st hole and Martin chipped in at the next hole, the par 4, 2nd.
“I was like, ‘you made the hole bigger,’” Martin joked with her playing partner. “You watch it go in and they start going in. Apparently, that was a little predictive as to what happened on nine.”
Martin carded a 69 on Friday and sits four-back of the lead. And with a little luck tucked away in her bag, come Sunday, could once again become a winner in Japan.
“I’m really happy to be here.”