More Than Once-in-a-LifetimeDanny Leake was playing in the Club Championship at the Texas Tech Rawls Course recently when he experienced a once-in-a-lifetime moment...twice.
Texas Tech Rawls Course Club Championship
July 29-30, 2006
Saturday, July 29 was the second day of the three day club championship and I knew I had to do something special to put myself in contention for my flight's championship. I struggled out of the gate with three bogies, a double bogey and a par, but was confident I could turn things around with one swing. The sixth hole is a par-3, between 170-180 yards depending on the tee position. On this day, it was playing about 174 yards with a slight cross breeze. The pin was front middle with a pretty significant slope from the left so my plan was to play the ball off the slope and let it feed to the hole. Like most 14-handicappers, I'm always confident in my strategy, it's the execution I continue to work on!
Jack North, Managing Director of the Rawls Course (l.) and Danny Leake (r.)
I teed up my Titleist NXT Tour and chose a King Cobra 5-iron. The shot felt good coming off the club, but not great. It started left towards a greenside bunker and I wasn't sure if it would come far enough right to catch the edge of the green and make the slope. Once it hit the green and took a nice hop, I knew it would be good...but not perfect! Just as I had planned, the ball hit the slope and fed gradually towards the hole...and then kept rolling, before finally disappearing in the cup for my first career hole-in-one after 25 years of playing golf!
As the ball crept closer to the hole, I began holding my breath, wondering where the ball would finally end up. When the ball suddenly disappeared my mind was definitely challenging what my eyes just witnessed. With several near-misses in my career, I never thought a hole-in-one was an option for me. Fortunately, there were people all around on adjoining holes to confirm what I had hoped, as they started yelling "It's in the hole!"
Under the pressure of the club championship and with plenty of witnesses, the moment was even sweeter than I had imagined. While the ball was put in the bag for safe keeping, I relied a lot on that 5-iron the rest of the day...my new favorite club!
Same Club, Ball and Hole - Same Result
I was obviously anxious to get to the sixth hole on Sunday, but I managed to keep my composure through the first five holes, even playing them better than the previous day. Despite the hole-in-one the day before, I approached the sixth hole with the same plan - to play to the middle of the green. I was not thinking "hole-in-one" and was honestly just trying not to embarrass myself, knowing the other players in my group probably had higher expectations for me this time around. The hole was playing slightly longer (178 yards) but I was still confident as I again teed up an NXT Tour and chose the same 5-iron that had treated me so well the previous day.
Off the tee, the ball did everything I could have asked it to do. In fact, I doubt I have ever hit an iron as well as this one - smooth swing, solid contact and a perfect ball flight. More importantly, the ball landed softly, about 12 feet from the middle of the green and began tracking towards the hole. When it dropped into the cup, again, I couldn't believe what I had just seen and refused to believe it went in the hole again. Then I heard the cheers erupt. Because we had gone out earlier than the previous day, there weren't as many witnesses and not as many cheers, but that didn't matter. I knew what had just happened was a significant accomplishment and, even sweeter on a personal level, was the fact that these two hole-in-ones propelled me to the championship in the sixth flight.
Thank you Titleist for being a part of this special moment. To record two hole-in-one's on consecutive days, on the same hole, with the same club is something I'll never forget.
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