I was sitting at my desk Tuesday afternoon, bummed that I couldn’t be at Daniel’s golf match, when I got a text message from him that said, “The first of many, I hope. Hole in one.”
The text went on to tell me that he had made the ace on a par 3 at his varsity’s team’s home course. I had to hold back from letting out a joyous shout, but I did immediately let all my co-workers within earshot know about the hole-in-one.
Daniel’s ace came on a hole that measures 161 yards on the scorecard from the white tees with water on the right of the green and a bunker on the left. The pin was in the back, and just before Daniel hit his tee shot, he heard one of his competitors who measured it with a laser device say it was playing 167 yards.
The wind was a little in his face so Daniel decided to hit the longer of his two six irons. He has two, but one of them plays more like a five iron.
Daniel hit a high shot that landed on the green and bounced a couple of times before rolling toward the flag. He said from the tee it looked like the ball might have lipped out and gone off the back of the green so he didn’t immediately know it was a hole-in-one.
He looked at his playing partners and said, “Does anybody else think that that might have gone in?” A member of the other team shook his head, “No.”
When Daniel got to the green, the father of another player was standing nearby. Daniel asked him if he saw where his ball ended up. “You might be in the hole,” the father said.
Daniel looked in the hole and saw his ball.
The hole-in-one made Daniel even par through his first six holes of the nine-hole match. His personal best was a five-over par, 41, so he knew he had a good chance to break it.
Daniel parred the next two holes, but bogeyed the last to end up with a one-over-par, 37.
The score is even more impressive because Daniel was three over par after bogeying the first three holes. He played the last six holes two under.
The start of his round actually played a key role in his overall score. The match began with a shotgun start, which had Daniel and his playing partners beginning on the second hole.
He pulled his tee shots into the woods on the first two holes. Instead of trying unlikely miracle shots, he chipped out on both, hit his third shots near the green and got down in two from there.
Daniel hit his tee shot in a bunker on his third hole, which was a par three. He had a bad lie, but blasted out and two-putted for bogey.
He drained about a 75-foot putt for birdie from off the green on the next hole, then parred his fifth hole, a par 5, before the hole-in-one.
Daniel’s 37 meant he had been the low scorer on his team for three straight matches. In his next match, however, he shot a 46 to finish behind the other five players that day. His coach reminded him that golf can be a humbling game.
Daniel’s team plays in its conference tournament this week. If the team qualifies, the state tournament is the next week.