Stacy Dennis Makes Shot of a Lifetime


Stacy Dennis with her caddie, Wells Greeley, beside the 9th green, where during Saturday's first round she made her first career hole-in-one. (USGA/Ron Driscoll)
By Ron Driscoll, USGA
October 5, 2013

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Stacy Dennis was struggling in her first round of stroke-play qualifying as she stepped to the tee on the par-3 ninth hole at Biltmore Forest Country Club.

“She had just made a nine, and I told her, a one will fix this quickly,” said Wells Greeley, her caddie and a member at Biltmore Forest, whose college-football playing background had immediately impressed Dennis when he was selected to carry for her.

Dennis, of Huntsville, Texas, promptly struck a 7-iron shot on the 156-yard hole and made the first hole-in-one of her career, and the first in the Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship in 10 years. Marilyn Hardy and Tobi Herron both made holes-in-one in the first round of stroke play at Long Cove Club in Hilton Head Island, S.C., in 2003.

“I’ve made the mistake of being past the hole this week in practice,” said Dennis. “I just wanted to land it somewhere in the front, and let it kick forward and see where it went… and it went in.”

The hole features a ridge running through the green from front to back, and Dennis’ shot found the front-right corner, crested the ridge, and took the slope perfectly. “I couldn’t see it because of the glare,” she said. “I thought they must be wrong. I had to go peek in the hole.”

The unforgettable shot was much-needed for Dennis. “I was having a rough stretch. I had a 9 [on the par-5 seventh] with a whiff. I was up against a tree and had to hit one left-handed.  And I whiffed it… so I had a whiff and a hole in one in a three-hole stretch. I needed a couple more but I guess that’s asking for too much.”

Dennis, 40, who reached the semifinals of last year’s championship, losing to eventual runner-up Liz Waynick in 20 holes, managed to get in with a 10-over-par 81, in a tie for 32nd.

“I struggled a little bit, even after the one, though it really helped,” said Dennis. “I do think, though, that my best golf is ahead of me.”

It will be tough to top the moment of realization she had shortly after her ace.

“I was standing on the 10th fairway after it happened and I had a good lie in the rough and the same club in my hand, and I told Wells this is one of the top five moments… in my life!,” said Dennis. “It’s such an incredible place, my caddie is the coolest guy in the world and I just made a one! I mean, how does it get better?”

As friends called from the club terrace to Dennis, warning her that she owed them the traditional post-round beverage, she called back, “I’m good for it… I’m on my way.” Before the championship, on her player biography form under holes-in-one, Dennis had entered: “Never, ever, ever.”

Until Saturday.

Ron Driscoll is the manager of the editorial services for the USGA. Email him at rdriscoll@usga.org.

 

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