Boston College golfer Brian Butler played in a qualifier on Monday in Wyoming, R.I., for a unique tournament coming June 18, known as the Benrus Open.
The Benrus Open, a par-3 event that will be contested at The Preserve at Boulder Hills, boasts a potential $20 million in cash and prizes. The tournament is open to amateurs, juniors, men, women, professionals and seniors as long as they make the cut in their qualifying round.
One million dollars will be handed out for a hole-in-one during the finals. During qualifying rounds, a hole-in-one is worth $10,000.
Butler aced the 158-yard 18th hole early this week for a 3-over 57 -- good enough for a spot in the finals.
However, Butler passed up on the $10,000 prize so not to forfeit his senior season with the Boston College golf team.
"I'm not going to give up my last year of college golf for $10,000," Butler told Golfweek.com.
I reached out to PGA Professional Troy Pare, Director of Operations at The Preserve.
"We were thrilled to see Brian Butler make a hole in one," Pare said. "But due to NCAA regulations, Brian declined the $10,000 so he could still compete his senior year at Boston College. Brian did earn one of the two final spots for our finals on June 18th. If Brian gets an ace in the finals for $1,000,000, he'll have another decision to make."
Butler declining the prize, as Pare explained, was only due to NCAA rules. The USGA put a new rule in place in recent years that allows golfers to accept hole-in-one prizes without having to relinquish their amateur status.
"The Prize Limit Rule (Rule 3-2) allows a player to accept prize vouchers or merchandise with a value of $750 or less in a golf competition," Bernie Loehr, Director of Amateur Status and the Rules of Golf for the USGA, told me in an email. "However, there is an Exception to the Prize Limit Rule that allows a player who makes a hole-in-one during a round of golf to accept any prize, regardless of its value and retain his amateur status. As this hole-in-one was made during a round of golf, the player could have accepted the $10,000 and not forfeited his amateur status under the USGA Rules of Amateur Status."
Something tells me Butler would take the cool $1 million should he land an ace on June 18.
As a former college senior many years ago, I'd have to say that as great as that year was, it would have been a whole lot more fun with a $1 million bank account.