Golf Buzz

February 15, 2015 - 2:30pm
mark.aumann's picture
Ada golfers
Michael Huff/Facebook
Michael Huff and Alex Lane are all smiles after their amazing round of golf Feb. 7.

On a weekend when most of the country is just dreaming about getting outside to golf, a pair of golfers in Oklahoma recently had consecutive shots you couldn't conjure up in any of your wildest dreams.

Michael Huff and Alex Lane, playing in the same foursome at Oak Hills Golf and Country Club on Feb. 7, made eagle putts on the eighth hole and promptly turned around and made back-to-back holes-in-one on the ninth.

ACE, ACE BABY: Man makes two holes-in-one in same round

The amazing event was chronicled first by Huff's cellphone, and then by a piece written by sports editor Jeff Cali in the Ada (Okla.) News. Here's the photo of the two balls in the hole taken by Huff as proof:

 

 

 

So how did this all happen?

According to Cali's story, there's a group of 12 golfers at Oak Hills who play scratch from the gold tees. This particular foursome included local architect Huff, a member of the country club; Lane, a former Ada High golfer and freshman in college; Russell Lowry, who graduated from Ada High in the 1970s; and Justin Powell, son of the current Ada High golf coach.

All four golfers reached the green at the par-5 eighth in two, but only Huff and Lane made their eagle putts, Huff sinking a 30-footer and Lane finding the bottom of the cup from five feet out.

PAIR OF ACES: Laura Diaz makes two holes-in-one in consecutive days

That brought the foursome to the next hole, a 150-yard par-3.

"The green has a high front, a valley in the middle and a high back, and the pin was hidden in the middle," Huff told Cali. "The right side of the green is also higher than the left, feeding everything from right to left."

Lane hit a pitching wedge that landed, turned left and disappeared behind the ridgeline. Huff's shot followed the same trajectory.

"I've seen that kind of shot a hundred times and somebody always says, 'You might have made that one.' It never happens," Huff was quoted as saying. "We never see one on that hole. They are always maybe a foot short or three feet long. There is a reason that holes in one are rare."

But when they reached the green, only two balls were visible. That's because the other two -- Lane's and Huff's -- were in the hole.

"When the rest of my playing partners saw what had happened, chaos erupted," Huff said in the article. "There was lots of yelling and high-fives and bear hugs.

RYDER CUP ACES: Watch all holes-in-one in Ryder Cup history

"I had a post on Facebook before we even were done with the hole. This was Alex's first ace and my second, but first on my home course."

And just to top off a crazy day, two other golfers made an ace on No. 9, bringing the total to four.

According to the National Hole-in-One Golf Registry, the odds of two members of the same foursome making a hole-in-one on the same hole is 17 million-to-1. So just imagine how astronomical the odds must be for consecutive eagle-aces.

That's one dream every golfer would love to experience in real life.

February 14, 2015 - 10:08am
mark.aumann's picture
Ryuji Imada
PGA Tour/YouTube
Ryudi Imada found himself with an extreme uphill lie Friday at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

One of the things about playing a course like Pebble Beach is the amazing coastline views. Unfortunately, that also means the coastline is sometimes in play.

Consider the predicament Ryuji Imada found himself in Friday during the second round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. His tee shot on the par-3 seventh hole went way left, and somehow stuck in the iceplant on the side of the cliff.

Not only did Imada find the ball, but look what he did next:

 

 

Yep, just your routine three. Put down "par" on the scorecard and move along.

Several things come to mind after seeing this. One, Imada must be part mountain goat. Two, that's one heck of a drop (vertical, not golf-related) and one misstep would have been very, very bad. Three, the fact that Imada could calm his heart rate down to make that third shot is perhaps the most impressive thing about the whole episode.

Would you have even gone down there in the first place? I know my answer.

February 13, 2015 - 5:30pm
john.holmes's picture
Panuphol Pittayarat
Asian Tour
Panuphol Pittayarat (center) wona brand-new townhouse at Black Mountain in Thailand for this hole-in-one there on Friday during the European Tour's True Thailand Classic.
Panuphol Pittayarat of Thailand missed the cut in the European Tour's True Thailand Classic on Friday, but he's going home a happy man. The reason – he's going home to a brand-new home.
 
The 22-year-old Pittayarat – whose nickname on his home Asian Tour is "Coconut" – made a hole-in-one on the par-3 14th hole at Black Mountain Golf Club. His prize? Not a bottle of champagne, or even a car, but the deed to a $368,000 townhouse currently under construction along the ninth fairway.
 
It just might be golf's first "home-in-one."
 
"I saw the ball just gone and I wasn't sure if it had gone in. But one of the guys ran up and he said there's no golf ball on the greens," Pittayarat said after his round. "So I started yelling. It was out of my mind. "Six-iron is now my friend."
 
The ace was the highlight of his day, as he posted a 1-under 71 that included the ace, four birdies, three bogeys and a double bogey.
 
 
Amazingly, Pittayarat's ace was the 13th on the European Tour in the 30 rounds played so far, following the four last week at the Maybank Malaysia Open (by Paul Waring, Gregory Bourdy, Jake Higginbottom and Thongchai Jaidee, and the four carded in January at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship (by Tom Lewis, Byeong-hun An, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Rory McIlroy).
 
The spate of aces is unusual, according to the European Tour, which explored the phenomenon on its website. Last year, its players recorded 35 aces in 49 events – a ratio of one hole-in-one for every 2,143 par 3s played, or 0.05 per cent. Heading into this week, the 12 aces in seven events put the tour on a pace to one for every 893 par 3s played. 
 
Statisticians say the probability of an amateur making a hole-in-one ranges anywhere from one in 12,500 to one in 40,000, the European Tour said, while a professional golfer has around a one-in-2,500 chance of making an ace. Therefore, it concluded, "the one-in-893 trend we have seen thus far this season is most certainly noteworthy."
 
If you're counting, the European Tour record for most holes-in-one in a season is 39 in 2006. The 2015 season, for now, is on pace for 81 aces.
 
Speaking of aces, I haven't found a clip of Pattayarat's hole-in-one, but here is an interview with him after his round:
 
 
Mark Hubbard
PGA Tour Media via Twitter
Mark Hubbard had more on his mind than his final score when he walked off the 18th green at Pebble Beach on Thursday.
 
The weather at Pebble Beach was so spectacular on Thursday that it felt like spring was in the air. Apparently, love was also in the air for PGA Tour player Mark Hubbard and his longtime girlfriend, Meghan McCurley. 
 
After he finished up a first-round 72 in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, Hubbard produced an engagement ring, dropped to one knee and popped the question. McCurley, we're pleased to report, said yes. 
 
Hubbard, a rookie this season, and McCurley have been together for seven years – since they were freshmen at San Jose State – so he wanted to make kind of a big deal out of his proposal. So he worked with tournament officials, who flashed "Meghan - Will You Marry Me?" up on the big electronic leaderboard behind the 18th green as soon as Hubbard's final putt fell. 
 
No word yet on a wedding date or possible honeymoon locations. Whenever and wherever they get hitched, though, they'll always remember the special circumstances of their engagement. Not only was it at Pebble Beach, it was also captured on video: 
 
 
February 12, 2015 - 1:30pm
mark.aumann's picture
Miguel Angel Jimenez
European Tour/YouTube
Miguel Angel Jimenez celebrates Thursday after his eagle hole out.

There's nobody else like the most interesting man in golf.

SWORD PLAY: Jimenez wields his putter like a foil

Miguel Angel Jimenez made an eagle Thursday by holing out his shot during the first round of the Thailand Classic, and the celebration afterward is too much for words. Just watch:

 

 

Jimenez's gyrations are almost like "Chi Chi Rodriguez meets the cha-cha-cha." Jiminez shot a 67, putting him three shots behind first-round leader Michael Hoey.

WEDDING STYLE: The most interesting golfer gets hitched

Bubba Watson
Bubba Watson via Twitter
Bubba Watson joined some patients and their family members to celebrate the grand opening of the Bubba Watson and Ping Golf Motion Analysis Lab at the Phoenix Children's Hospital on Tuesday.
 
Not long after Bubba Watson won his first Masters back in 2012, he and Ping teamed up for a special promotion called ''Bubba & Friends Drive to a Million.'' To help raise funds for Phoenix-area charities, Ping donated $50 for each of the 5,000 pink drivers sold.
 
Last year, Watson and Ping presented $250,000 to the Phoenix Children's Hospital, with the money dedicated to creating the Bubba Watson and Ping Golf Motion Analysis Lab, which will serve pediatric patients with neuromuscular diseases and disabilities. In total, Watson and his wife Angie, along with Ping, donated $360,000 to the project.
 
And on Tuesday, the new facility celebrated its grand opening – with Bubba, of course, on hand for the festivities.
 
Writing on the hospital's website, Shane Barnhill, the director of digital philanthrophy at the hospital, provided some details on the new facility. Specifically, he explained, each year it will help hundreds of children who have movement disorders or walking difficulties caused by conditions like Cerebral Palsy. 
 
 
"A team of specialists – orthopaedic surgeons, physical therapists, kinesiologists, pediatric-trained sports medicine doctors, physiatrists, neurologists, neurosurgeons, and engineers – will soon have data from a computer-assisted motion analysis of the way each child moves and walks," he wrote. "This innovative new process is invaluable, as studies have shown that nearly 90 percent of the surgical plans for patients seen in a gait lab change after evaluation."
 
Check out Watson's Twitter account and Facebook page for more photos and video from the grand opening.