The Titleist Pro V1 golf ball that sits on display in Jeff Polonus' house was once thought to be lost forever.
It was just a few weeks ago that Polonus purchased a dozen Pro V1s before his qualifying round in the Flight A division of the Peoria (Ill.) Men's City golf tournament, where had finished runner-up twice.
The first ball Polonus pulled from the box was a Pro V1 No. 8 – his lucky "softball number" and also a number he has on his license plate. His first shot of the tournament hooked into the long, left rough.
"I probably spent four of the (allowed) five minutes looking for it," said Polonus. With seconds to spare, one of Polonus' competitors found the ball after almost driving over it in his golf cart.
Later that day on the 18th green, Polonus picked that same Pro V1 #8 out of the hole. He would go on to use the ball for another 27 holes at Mt. Hawley Country Club, not to mention all six matches in his run to victory in Men's City tournament.
It all added up to 127 holes.
"It was always just sitting there in my bag," said Polonus, "so I just kept playing with it."
On the 18th hole of the Men's City final at Newman Golf Course, Polonus hit his drive down the fairway, 110 yards from the pin. He pulled out his 57-degree Vokey wedge and sent his approach shot right at the flag. The Pro V1 #8 landed 3 feet past hole and spun back to 5 feet, going out in style.
His opponent eventually conceded the putt and the match, 2 up. At that moment, Polonus' 127-hole-old Pro V1 #8 officially went into retirement.
"I hadn't even done the math until it was all done," he said. "I didn't want to jinx myself,"
A tee shot that rolled under some grass clippings registered as the only other scare.
"Other than that, it was always in play and always functioned, " he said. "I just kind of kept going."