Aces wild: Course cheers two holes-in-one on same night
Bryan Illig was the toast of the clubhouse Thursday night for making a hole-in-one – until Shelly Kime fired one on the same hole.
“I was sitting up at the clubhouse after I finished my round when we found out someone else got one – on the same hole,” said Illig, 36, of Genesee County, celebrating his shot with others on the patio at Willow Springs Golf & Country Club.
“I thought ‘Geez oh Pete, how is it possible that you go so long without seeing one ever, and then there’s two in the same night?’”
Illig, a player in the Bob’s Truck Body League, isn’t the only astonished golfer.
“I was blown away, to be honest, when I heard about it,” said Jeff Kidd, 29, pro shop manager at Willow Springs, 7335 Oak Road in Tuscola County’s Vassar Township.
“Everybody was waiting for those two to get in the clubhouse, and when (each of them) came in, everybody started clapping and cheering for them.”
Illig used a pitching wedge to record his ace, dropping a shot into the cup from the tee about 130 yards away.
“The shot felt great,” Illig said. “I saw it in mid-air and it looked like it would land a little bit right of the pin. I hoped I had the right distance.
“I saw it land, and that green kind of slopes (down) from back to front. … I landed it four feet right and four feet past the flagstick, and the ball backed up and it started back spinning, and it just trickled, and it trickled, and it trickled, and then the ball disappeared.
“When it started to trickle back down toward the hole, it seemed like it took forever. When it disappeared, we went crazy. It was fun.”
The feat was witnessed by Illig’s league partner and brother-in-law, Gabe Vaughn, and by Dustin Bishop and Zac Finatri.
Kime, 64, of Vassar Township, recorded her hole-in-one several hours later, playing in the Ladies’ Thursday Night League.
“I thought I was going to hyperventilate I was so excited,” said Kime, recalling the moment she saw her ball roll into the cup for her first hole-in-one.
Kime’s ace, also with a pitching wedge, was witnessed by her playing partner, Pam Woolwine, and by Donna Harvey and Cheryl Leix.
“I knew it had a chance to win the (league) money for ‘closest to the pin’ on that hole – because the best shot before then was really close,” Kime said. “I wasn’t even dreaming of a hole-in-one.”
Illig said he wasn’t able to join with other Willow Springs patrons in applauding Kime when she came back to the clubhouse after her hole-in-one, on a shot of about 70 yards from the women’s tee on No. 2.
“I was actually gone by the time she came into the clubhouse,” Illig said.
Kime doesn’t drink alcohol, so she didn’t buy a round of drinks in the clubhouse after her round of golf. But she bakes cookies, and plans to deliver about 200 of them – five different kinds – to the ladies in her league Thursday night.
“I had my daughter make up this poster, and it says ‘Have a ‘drink’ on me celebrating Shelly’s hole-in-one’ – except the word ‘drink’ is crossed out and replaced in big letters by ‘cookie.’”
Willow Springs witnessed a hole-in-one about a month ago, Kidd said, when Roger Parkinson captured an ace on a drive on No. 13, which is about 160 yards from the flagstick.
“I’ve been golfing for almost 20 years now, and I’ve had one (hole-in-one),” Kidd said. “Having three in about one month, and then two on one day – the odds of that happening are just astronomical.”
Illig said it’s “insane” two holes-in-one occurred on one hole on one night.
“To anybody that’s been saying something to me about it over the last couple days,” Illig said, “I tell them ‘It’s my first hole-in-one, and probably my last.’”
Tom Gilchrist is a staff writer for The Advertiser. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.