Friday, March 18, 2011

The Luck Of The Irish -- And Then Some

There’s the luck of the Irish.

Then there’s the story of John O’Malley on St. Patrick’s Day.

O’Malley is a 55-year old who relocated to Charlotte just over five years ago and who, if the economy, health and schedules accommodate, gets together with a group of buddies from around the country to play golf and watch basketball together the first week of the NCAA tournament.

This week, O’Malley and seven of his friends are in Charlotte to see Duke, North Carolina and each other.

They’ve already had their magic moment.


Playing golf at Ballantyne Country Club on Thursday, O’Malley hit his 6-iron tee shot on the 149-yard, par-3 12th hole and liked it. Looking into the sun, O’Malley and his friends couldn’t see his ball land.

His playing partners, Tom Grimm of Wilmington, Del., and Bill Lee from Cincinnati also hit good shots. When they got to the green, there were no golf balls to be seen.

One was over the green, another was in a bunker.

“I thought mine had probably hit the front of the green and bounced back in the water,” O’Malley said.

In fact, O’Malley’s ball was in the hole for his first ace.

“I was pretty excited,” O’Malley, a 13-handicap who plays mostly on weekends, said.

It was about to get more exciting.

At the 100-yard, par-3 17th hole that plays over water, O'Malley wanted to hit his pitching wedge but realized he’d left it on an earlier hole. So he choked down on a 9-iron, hit a shot past the hole then watched it roll back in the cup for his second ace in one hour.

“I literally fell down on the tee box,” O’Malley said. “It was unbelievable.”

The odds of something like that happening? Golf Digest reported an insurance company put the odds of two aces in the same round at 1 in 9,222,500.

In other words, it doesn’t happen every day.

“I’ve read stories about people who have done things like that but never actually talked to one,” Ballantyne pro Joe Maher said.

He has now.

The buzz rippled through the Ballantyne clubhouse and the bar was open – for an Irishman on St. Patrick’s Day.

“My friend Bill said my wife wasn’t going to believe it but she will when she sees the bar bill,” O’Malley said.


Unknown said...

Congratulations, John. What an exciting experience. Hope you live to have five more holes in one.

Unknown said...

My uncle Sean (his 1st cousin, so Johnny is my 1st cousin, once removed) received a text about it and it was all the buzz over corned beef at the O'Malley's in Mountain View, CA. CONGRATS Cousin Johnny, from Siobhan, Randy, Meghan (and Dexter), Patrick, & Katie!