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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

Hungover Eddie Pepperell is the real winner of The Open

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Eddie Pepperell is never dull. The Englishman’s candor, articulateness, and skill with a pen make him a great follow on Twitter and beyond.

But even given standard Peperellian forthrightness, it was surprising to hear this: Pepperell was hungover during the final round at Carnoustie…a round in which he fired a 4-under 67.

Pepperell finished tied for sixth at 5-under, three strokes behind Francesco Molinari, and he offered this admission in his final-round press conference.

“I was a little hungover…I had too much to drink last night. And I was so frustrated yesterday, that today was really, I wouldn’t say a write-off, but I didn’t feel I was in the golf tournament. Whether I shot 69 or 73 today, it wouldn’t have been heartbreaking. But as it happens, I shot 67. So, you know, it’s a funny game.”

Hitting the course before the winds kicked up, Pepperell birdied the third, fifth, sixth, and 14th holes before rolling in another at the 17th.

He clarified that he’s no wino.

“Listen, I wouldn’t always have a drink the night before. Sometimes I have a few drinks. Tiger is minus-7, he didn’t have a drink last night, I bet. Proper athlete…I didn’t really have that much to drink, just I’m a lightweight, yeah.”

Pepperell clarified that he felt okay this morning, but woke up in the middle of the night feeling poorly. he said. Then it was time to sit back and watch as the leaders battled Carnoustie’s back nine.

Proper athlete or no, Pepperell finished tied with Woods at 5 under.

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19th Hole

Pat Perez: The R&A “do it right, not like the USGA”

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Pat Perez opened The Open, as it were, with a 2-under 69, and at the time of this writing, he’s 4 under for the second round and tied for the lead.

Clearly, there’s something Double P likes about links golf. And when he was asked whether he was surprised by how receptive the greens at Carnoustie were after his opening round, Perez shook his head with conviction and said.

“They (the R&A) do it right, not like the USGA…They’ve got the opposite [philosophy] here. I told them, you guys have it right, let the course get baked, but you’ve got the greens receptive. They’re not going to run and be out of control. They could have easily had the greens just like the fairway, but they didn’t. The course is just set up perfect.”

“The U.S. Open could have been like this more if they wanted to. They could have made the greens a bit more receptive,” Perez said. “These greens are really flat compared to Shinnecock. So that was kind of the problem there is they let it get out of control and they made the greens too hard.”

Pat Perez has no problem speaking his mind. While it has gotten him in trouble in the past, you have to respect his candor. The interesting question, as I asked in the Morning 9, is how many Tour pros agree him?

Sure, it’s unlikely any of Perez’s compatriots will join him publicly in his “R&A does it right, USGA does it wrong” stance, but it’d be very interesting to know what percentage are of the same mind.

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19th Hole

68 at the British Open in the morning, golf with hickories at St Andrews in the afternoon

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Yes, golf fans, just another day in the charmed life (or week, at least) of one Brandon Stone.

Stoney (as I assume his friends call him), came to Carnoustie on the heels of a final-round 60 to win the Scottish Open. All he did in his opening round was fire a 3-under 68. Not bad!

But his Thursday to remember was only getting started as Stone made the 25-mile trip south to the Old Course to peg it…with a set of hickory clubs! Well played, sir, well played.

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