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19th Hole

17 million to 1 odds: 2 golfers make back-to-back holes-in-one

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Imagine watching one member of your foursome tee up his ball at a 123-yard par 3. After his usual pre-shot activities, he strikes his approach. It flies for the pin like a heat-seeking missile, lands softly, and disappears into the cup. Your whole group erupts in celebration; after the dust of enthusiasm settles, it’s your turn to hit.

Such was the situation for 33-year-old Brian Halpern at the seventh hole of Westwood Country Club in St. Louis, Sunday.

After watching his buddie, Howie Sher, ace the hole, Halpern teed his ball up and struck his approach, and the projectile did…the exact same thing.

Imagine that scene: It had to be a mix of jubilation and disbelief–“Is there a glitch in the Matrix? Are we all going to ace this hole?”

“Watching Howie’s go in was the most-exhilarating thing I’d experienced on a golf course,” said Halpern. “I’d never seen one go in before. Watching it was amazing.”

To be sure. But what was it like trying to follow up his friend’s performance?

“To be honest I was just trying to make sure I hit contact because I had so much adrenaline going from watching Howie. When I hit the ball I chunked it a little bit but had a good line. It was going a little left of the pin and landed on the left fringe, pin high. After it landed, it took a hard bounce up the hill and then ran down the hill in a beeline for the hole – just like Howie.”

Unreal. Halpern described the experience as “out-of-body,” telling Benjamin Hochman of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

“What happened is not believable.”

Indeed. According to the National Hole-In-One Registry sets odds of two players in the same foursome making aces as 17 million to 1. To put that in perspective, the odds of getting struck by lightning are one in 960,000.

Thus, it’s 17 times more likely you’ll get struck by lightning than it is that you’ll experience the “lightning strikes twice” phenomenon of two aces in one group.

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. larrybud

    Apr 30, 2018 at 10:49 pm

    My group got within a couple of feet of holing out for eagle in the middle of the fairway on a par 4 from about 140. That was pretty cool. The best thing was player #1 was our opponent, he hit it to 18″, then my partner holed out to win the hole. 😉

  2. Ghj@gmail.com

    Apr 30, 2018 at 9:17 pm

    Proooove it!

  3. Eric Granata

    Apr 30, 2018 at 8:45 pm

    This happened at Rivers Edge Golf Club in Alpena, Mi when I was the head pro / GM of the course. It was a father and son who did it on our 14th hole, which plays about 155 yards. We have also had 2 different golfers get 2 hole in ones in the same round.

    The par 3s really aren’t that easy, just people get lucky

    • Rev G

      May 1, 2018 at 12:56 pm

      This happened a couple of months ago to two female friends of my sister, who live in the Villages down in Florida. Also, back to back. The odds of back to back are far greater than just in the same foursome.

      • Rev G

        May 1, 2018 at 1:12 pm

        I believe back to back hole in ones by amateurs is about 162 million to one.

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19th Hole

Ricky Barnes DQd at the Byron Nelson

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Ricky Barnes took a trip to Dairy Queen at the AT&T Byron Nelson. Barnes was disqualified following his second round 1-over 72. He signed for a three at the par-4 sixth hole, when in fact he had made a par.

Ultimately, he won’t rue his impromptu trip to get a Blizzard: Barnes was 3 over and was in no danger of making the cut.

Because this is the world we live in, Barnes apparently found out about the DQ via LuckyTrout Golf Pool on Twitter.

Of course, no scorecard error will ever top “What a stupid I am,” Roberto De Vicenzo signing for 66 when he shot 65, handing the green jacket to Bob Goalby at the 1968 Masters. Such an unfortunate legacy for a man who won hundreds of tournaments around the world.

Also unfortunate: Ricky Barnes is on the way for being remembered as a man who never lived up to the promise he showed at that same tournament, The Masters, as an amateur.

Let’s hope that changes.

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19th Hole

WATCH/LOOK AWAY: Jordan Spieth misses a 15-inch putt

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Aren’t you glad there isn’t video of all the 15-inch putts you’ve missed? I certainly am.

Unfortunately for Jordan Spieth, his failed attempt from little more than a foot at the Byron Nelson was captured on video, and it will exist on the internet for all eternity.

Spieth, who has struggled with the flatstick lately, stood over a short par putt at the par-4 15th hole, and well…

Spieth is currently 183rd on the PGA Tour this season in strokes gained: putting, losing .412 strokes per round to the field on the greens.

But at least he hit the hole, right?

Here’s the offending weapon: Spieth’s trusty Scotty Cameron 009.

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19th Hole

GolfWRX members debate: What should the World Golf Hall of Fame criteria be?

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There have been a couple of controversial inclusions on the World Golf Hall of Fame. This isn’t to rehash, say, Fred Couples earning a spot, but rather, take a look at entry criteria.

More specifically, GolfWRX member playar32 writes

“I know the actual criteria is 15 tour wins, or 2 majors/Players championship. But what’s YOUR minimum?…For example, if a player won a “B” tournament every year (the one opposite a WGC event), every year in a row for 15 years, but missed the cut in every other event, would you still considered them HOF?”

It’s an interesting point. Specifically, the World Golf Hall of Fame criteria for an active male golfer is as follows.

“A player must have a cumulative total of 15 or more official victories on any of the original members of the International Federation of PGA Tours (PGA TOUR, European Tour, Japan Golf Tour, Sunshine Tour, Asian Tour and PGA of Australasia) OR at least two victories among the following events: The Masters, THE PLAYERS Championship, the U.S. Open, The Open Championship and the PGA Championship.”

Further, a player must be at least 50 or five years removed from competition.

Here are some other WRX members’ takes.

Bladehunter says

“15 tour wins and 2 majors for me. Otherwise almost every 1 major winner out there is in.”

McCann1 says

“If we won’t remember your name without the HOF in 50 years I think you shouldn’t be in.”

Fowlerscousin says

“If any of these three criteria are met: 3 or more majors. Minimum 5 Ryder cup appearances. 15 tour victories.”

Hawkeye77 says

“Whatever the criteria are, don’t ever think about it unless someone whose speech I want to hear gets in.’

Golfer929 has more stringent standards

“20 Wins. 3 Majors. 2 Ryder Cup/President Cup appearances. 100 total weeks inside Top 50 OWGR.”

Golfgirlrobin says

“I’d like to see them go to some sort of point system like the LPGA uses. Factor in everything that’s important and let the chips fall where they may.”

You’ll want to check out the rest of what GolfWRX members have to say in the thread.

There are a ton off questions to consider when thinking about which current/recent players should make the HoF.

A few…

1. Should the standards be on par with other sports? If so, what does that look like?
2. If the WGHOF should be more/less stringent, why?
3. How important are major victories? Why two and not three?
4. Why 15 wins and not 10? Or 20?

All important questions, and ones which the golf fans of the world should be able to weigh in on, rather than merely a selection committee of 16 people.

Let us know what you think, GolfWRX members!

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