AGOSTINI: Golfer drains two holes-in-one in one round at Jack Tone in Ripon

July 30, 2013 

The odds of an amateur making a hole-in-one are 1 in 12,500.

But two in one round? Try 1 in 67 million, according to the National Hole-In-One Registry.

Enter Jerry Morris, a Tracy man who turns 70 in September. He remembers a story Lee Trevino told after an ace.

"Lee said, 'What's lucky about it? That's where I was aiming,' " Morris recalled.

Morris aimed straight and true Monday at Jack Tone Golf, the fun-to-play par-62 in Ripon. He got lucky, all right, but what happened to him defied odds, reality and all other matters not considered by the golf gods.

Yes, he scored two holes-in-one within 45 magical minutes during his back nine at Jack Tone. Did he receive special treatment because he was paired in a foursome which included Pastor Dave Bliss of the Bethel Assembly of God in Oakdale?

You be the judge. Then tell Morris he's due in church Sunday morning.

"I don't know if God is too concerned about golf," Bliss said, "but wouldn't it be nice if it were that easy?"

Morris, a self-described recreational player who again took up the game last year after about a 20-year hiatus, cruised through his first 10 holes.

He thinned a 9-iron at the 127-yard 11th, however, and the ball rocketed barely above the ground toward the green. Morris hoped to keep the ball low, but not that low. He was picking up his tee when his playing partners erupted.

Ace! And Morris didn't see it!

"I had never made a hole-in-one. I mis-hit the shot," Morris said. "Then the guys went crazy. They were more excited than I was."

That didn't keep the group from teasing Morris over the next few holes. But on the 105-yard 15th, lightning again struck.

This time, Morris caught his pitching wedge on the button. The ball landed a few feet from the flag and disappeared, and — the second time around — the valley's luckiest golfer saw the whole thing.

"My wife Elisa said, 'You've got that course figured out,' " said Morris, a retired auto industry manager. "I told her, 'The hole is 4¼ inches wide, and I knocked it in twice.' I loved what (Jack Tone owner) George Buzzini Jr. said. He said to tell people, 'You tell 'em that both were great shots.' "

Holes-in-one are not uncommon at Jack Tone, which features 11 par-3s, none longer than 157 yards. But a player acing twice on the same day had not happened since the course's opening day in 1996.

"Jerry is a pretty decent golfer, but come on," said Bliss, the pastor. "I thought, 'You've got to be kidding,' when the first one went in. I was just really happy for him."

For the record, Morris shot a 74, his career best at Jack Tone. He'll put away his Callaway ball for safe-keeping and promises he'll soon return to the course where he aced himself into local golf history.

"I've been fortunate. I'm still on the right side of the grass. I play golf just to get a little exercise," Morris said. "I'll keep playing when the other half lets me."

• THE SHAG BAG —Congratulations to Modesto's Adam Williams, 9, who won the 10-11 age group at the local qualifying portion of the inaugural Drive, Chip and Putt competition. The event — an initiative begun by the Masters Tournament Foundation, the USGA and the PGA of America — was held at Empire Lakes in Rancho Cucamonga last month. Williams posted the highest overall score, with 156 points, despite windy conditions. He'll advance to the regional on Aug. 17 at the Morongo Club at Tukwet Canyon in Beaumont. From there, the top qualifier in each bracket will advance to the National Championship next April 6 at Augusta National, a few days before the Masters. ...

Former Cal State Stanislaus star James Drew, a Las Vegas resident, lost on the second playoff hole to Ray Beaufils to end the California State Open at Morongo. Beaufils, from Scottsdale, Ariz., birdied the 18th for the second straight time to edge Drew, who shot 17-under 271 (64-67-72-68). Drew earned $10,000 while Beaufils took home the $14,000 first prize. ... The Olympic Club in San Francisco will hold the first U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship on April 30-May 6, 2015. The women's four-ball will be staged at Bandon Dunes in Oregon over the same dates. The team competition promises something new for the USGA's annual list of national tournaments, though we'll miss the U.S. Amateur Public Links, which will be stopped after next year.

• HOLES-IN-ONE —Juan Williams, Manteca, 111-yard 13th at Jack Tone, pitching wedge. ... Bob Glover, Turlock, 127-yard eighth at Jack Tone, 7-iron. ... Rick Maisel, Knights Ferry, 165-yard fifth at Mountain Springs, Sonora, 9-wood.

Bee staff writer Ron Agostini can be reached at ragostini@modbee.com or (209) 578-2302. Follow Ron via Twitter, @modbeesports.

Ron Agostini

Golf

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