ENVIOUS players get to walk past a series of boards proclaiming a list of golfers who have secured a holein-one over the years at one of the most challenging courses in the region … and often dream that one day their name will be added to the role of honour.
The Royal Golf Club’s ambassador Sam Hobday, 24, the professional who went to St Christopher’s School, has his name enshrined on the tablet of glory for success on Hole 7 in June, 2014, using a pitching wedge from 119 yards.
“This is my third holein-one. I had my first when I was just seven on the old Riffa Golf Club course and then my second when I was 16 on The Wee Monty,” he told GulfWeekly at the time. Six months later his dad, Barry, a teacher at the school, made it a family affair by notching his moment of mastery on Hole 12.
And, this week, Bahrain’s golf lovers (not named Hobday) were given a slice of encouragement to never stop dreaming. And, if you were going to play your last round of golf at the age of 93, registering your first hole-in-one can prove to be a fitting finale. It may not have been on the Colin Montgomerie designed course at the Royal Golf Club but the world of golf has united in celebrating with Ohio native Ben Bender who accomplished his perfect drive at his local course, Green Valley.
Armed with his trusty five-wood, the sprightly nonagenarian sent his tee shot over the lake at the 152-yard par-three third hole, and watched with delight as it found the green and trickled into the cup. A former three handicapper, Ben had played golf for more than 60 years without making an ace.
On the day in question he began with an eight at the opening hole and followed that with a seven. But then came the third hole and the chance to write the figure ‘1’ on his scorecard. Speaking to the Zanesville Times, Bender said: “I’d come close to some hole-in-ones, but this one was level on the green before it curved towards the hole and went in. I was in awe watching it.” It proved to be one of the last shots he would strike – as he decided to hang up his clubs that very day. “I played a few more holes, but my hips were hurting and I had to stop,” Bender said. “It seemed the Lord knew this was my last round so he gave me a hole-inone.”
Stanley Louis Szecowka
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