NAPLES, Fla. – Jim Fitzgerald, a 67-year-old retiree from Chicago, was playing in Hideout Golf Club's 17th annual Member-Guest last week. He had never made a hole-in-one. Now he has two.
"I've been playing golf for probably 55 years," said Fitzgerald, who retired from the municipal bond investment business at the end of 2015. "I've had two holes-in-one in my life, and I get them back-to-back at this course, which is one of my favorites to play."
During the practice round on March 9, Fitzgerald made a hole-in-one from 120 yards with a pitching wedge on No. 5.
"It was downwind a little bit and I pulled out a pitching wedge," he said. "We heard it hit the flag, but we couldn't see it. ... We walked up, and there was a dent on the left-hand side of the cup. It hit the pin and it just stayed in the hole. Unbelievable."
Two days later during the tournament, Fitzgerald, who was a guest of Hideout member Dr. Phil FitzSimons, approached the hole late in the day. FitzSimons warned the competing twosome in the group and their caddie that Fitzgerald had aced the hole in the practice round. The hole was 105 yards, and again a little downwind, so Fitzgerald used a 52-degree wedge.
"The sun was low in the sky," he said. "I knew I hit it well. The caddie said 'I can't see the ball.' It could've rolled off the side or anything. We walked up there and sure enough, it was in there. ... I'm now known as the 'Hole-In-One Guy.'"
Before Saturday's round, the tournament official announced that Fitzgerald had made a hole-in-one during the practice round. They asked for everyone to hold their applause, then announced he had done it again in the first round.
After he was done Friday, Fitzgerald said he had joked with Moe Kent, one of Hideout's owners, that the hole was too easy. So when Fitzgerald got to the hole on Saturday, he said the pin was "in an impossible spot."
Still, Fitzgerald missed a third ace by just five feet.
The odds of making the aces on the same hole in consecutive rounds are 1 in 5.7 million, said director of golf Shawn Ward in an email.
"It was something special," Fitzgerald said. "We were just real lucky."
This article was written by Greg Hardwig from Naples Daily News, Fla. and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.