E.A. Sports Today

Second chance ace

SKCC notebook: Hansek scores ‘hole-in-one’ with a mulligan at ACC; Brown withdraws at mid-round after call comes that his baby is on the way

UPDATE: Kensington Elisabeth Brown was born this morning at 2:06 a.m. in Birmingham.

Derrick Kirby hits an approach shot at Cider Ridge under the watchful eye of partner Diana White. (Photo by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

Derrick Kirby hits an approach shot at Cider Ridge under the watchful eye of partner Diana White. (Photos by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

SILVER LAKES – Jeff Hansek’s scorecard had a 1 on it and even if it didn’t count towards a big prize that’s all that mattered to him.

Hansek scored what we’ll call a “Fred Couples ace” Friday when he made a hole-in-one on the 16th hole at Anniston Country Club with a mulligan during the opening round of the Sunny King Charity Classic.

“I’ll take them anyway I can get them,” the 36-year-old ACC member said.

Normally, an ace on that hole would have won him some nice airline tickets, but because he used a do-over the only reward he received was the admiration of the gallery and the satisfaction of recording a golfer’s dream.

Hansek hit his first shot to the uphill par-3 into the road behind the green after what witnesses said it caromed off a sprinkler head. His partner, Scott Knighton, didn’t have much better luck, finding the ditch in front of the tee and then hitting his next attempt into the road.

Hansek had both of his mulligans left, and needed it badly. He hit the same pitching wedge he did on the first shot and this one found the bottom of the cup.

“I pured the second one,” he said. “I knew it was good as soon as I hit it. I didn’t think it’d be that good.”

Any other time it would be a 3, but with the mulligan it stayed a 1 on the card.

“We got up to the top of the hill and (tournament committee member) Keith Howell was there and had a smirk on his face,” Hansek said. “He shook my hand and said ‘Congratulations, you didn’t win (anything).’”

He said he’d be lying if he said he wasn’t disappointed about not winning the prize, but as a sponsor of other hole-in-one contests in the past he understands “rules are rules.”

His only “real” hole-in-one came at Silver Lakes about 10 years ago.

“I have to put an asterisk by it; it’s a Barry Bonds, I guess,” he said, referring to the baseball slugger whose all-time home run record remains tainted by scandal. “If I didn’t have the other one to fall back on I’d probably count it.”

Call it a “Fred Couples ace” because its reminiscent of the PGA Tour star holing out his second attempt at the 17th at Sawgrass during the 1999 Players Championship after hitting his first ball on the famous par-3 into the water.

“I’ll take any comparison to Fred Couples any day,” Hansek said.

The ace helped their team shoot 3-under 67. They are three shots off the lead in the Honda Pilot fourth flight.

The volunteers at the check-in desk are ready for a busy day at Cider Ridge.

The volunteers at the check-in desk are ready for a busy day at Cider Ridge.

GOTTA GO: Joel Brown was so looking forward to being back in the Classic with his dad and perhaps repeating the memory of their flight championship 10 years ago, but he’s going to have another memory to cherish when it comes to recalling this year’s tournament.

The 31-year-old restaurant manager had to withdraw midway through his first round when the call came that his wife, Kaitlin, was about to deliver the couple’s first child at any minute.

The initial call came while Joel was staring down a birdie putt on the fourth hole at Anniston Country Club with his David. At first, Joel said, Kaitlin was OK with him finishing the round “up to a certain point,” but he eventually left at the turn — leaving his dad to play the back nine in the best-ball round by himself. He made it to the hospital on the other side of Birmingham in an hour.

“I think I’m more in shock that it’s about to happen than anything,” Joel said. “It’s been a wave of emotion. Either way, we’ve got exciting things happening.”

David played the back nine in 2-over-par and that’s where the team finished on the scoreboard.

Joel had given some thought to returning if the baby – a girl, to be named Kensington Elisabeth – arrived overnight, but decided to withdraw. Ken Maye will replace him for the remainder of the event.

It could not be confirmed if the baby will come to known by another name.

“I believe my friends will nickname her Sunny,” Joel said.

Jimmy Jackson looks for a putt to drop during his round at Cider Ridge.

Jimmy Jackson looks for a putt to drop during his round at Cider Ridge.

MONEY BALL: Four players were drawn at random Friday night to take the four big-money shots at the conclusion of play Sunday.

Matt Sawyer, Kyle Turner, Chad Jones and Joshua Johnsey were selected for the five-figure putt, two $100,000 fairway shots and the fairway shot for a million. The shot assignments were to be announced.

A flowing waterfall adds a nice touch to the scene around Cider Ridge's 14th green.

A flowing waterfall adds a nice touch to the scene around Cider Ridge’s 14th green.

(Cover photo by Sandra Howell)



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