The Port Arthur News
PORT ARTHUR —
Though he’d had absolutely no experience with the protocol that follows golf’s most improbable shot — a hole in one on a par 4 — Cricket Owen of Port Neches knew exactly what to do after playing partner Cole Lee found the ball from his tee shot on the 380-yard, 6th hole at Babe Zaharias resting in the cup.
“I got out my cell phone, called the clubhouse and told them to put about 100 beers on ice, because I was going to be buying for everybody when I finished,” said Owen.
Owen’s Albatross — the golfing term for a double eagle — came in the weekly DogFight at Zaharias, and in the company of Lee and Larry Johnson. The 6th hole is a hard dogleg left, which better players cut off by flying their tee shots over homes built adjacent to the fairway.
As the crow flies, this Albatross traveled some 295 yards to its resting place. Unlike Louis Oosthuizen, who was able to watch his celebrated double eagle roll into the cup on the par 5, 2nd at Augusta National on Sunday, neither Owen nor his playing partners knew he’d holed the shot.
“We looked for the ball for three or four minutes and finally Cole said he was going to see if it was in the cup,” said Owen. “Sure enough it was. I’ve always said somebody was going to make an ace on that hole some day.”
For Owen, a 5 handicap who is from Dallas, went to the University of Oklahoma and has been living in Southeast Texas for 10 years, it wasn’t his first out-of-the-ordinary shot. He’s also recorded a trio of aces on par 3s, all of them with a 7-iron and all in California. None of them matched the thrill of the Albatross.
That’s why, when he watched Oosthuizen’s remarkable second on the second hole in the final round of the Masters, roll and roll and roll and finally fall into the cup, he understood the exhilaration.
“I said to myself that I bet I’m the only person around here who knew how he felt,” Owen confided. “I had tears in my eyes thinking about it.”
So how rare is a double eagle, as opposed to your garden variety hole in one? Over the last five years on the PGA Tour, there have been 130 aces recorded. Two of them happened Sunday at the Masters. During the same period of time, there have been a mere 17 double eagles.
As far as double eagles on 4-par holes, I’m still doing the research. The odds against it have to be astronomical. Or, as Bum Phillips once said about Earl Campbell, “he may not be in a class all by himself, but it don’t take long to call roll.”
A quick survey of area golf pros produced three other par 4 aces. Former Lamar University golfer Justin Hardin made one on the 290-yard, first at Beaumont Country Club. Glenn Green and Mike Lansford scored aces on the 283-yard, 18th at Bayou Din.
Zaharias pro Ed Campbell recalls a quirky Alabatross on the 274-yard, 16th at Bayou Din in which a golfer’s drive rolled onto the green, hit a guy who was putting in the foot and, given a change of direction, rolled into the cup. But Campbell can’t recall the player’s name.
If you know who it was, or are aware of other aces on 4 pars, please e-mail me.
Owen, meanwhile, put a valuable lesson into play with his Albatross golf ball.
“After I made my first hole in one, I foolishly kept playing that ball,” he related. “On the very next hole, I my second shot in the water. This ball, I had Lee and Johnson sign it and I’ve put it in a special place.”
Sports editor Bob West can be e-mailed at email@example.com