Saturday, July 20, 2013

Halsema, Carlson upstage leaders with twin aces at women's city golf championship

Published in the Lafayette Journal & Courier Sunday, July 13, 2013

By Clyde Hughes for the Journal & Courier

BATTLE GROUND — Lafayette Jeff junior golfers Lauren Halsema and Abigail Carlson would have had better odds winning the Hoosier Lotto, getting a royal flush with their first five cards in poker, or spotting a UFO than what they pulled off Saturday afternoon at the Greater Lafayette City Women’s Golf Tournament.

Halsema and Carlson, members of the same group, each made a hole-in-one on the 119-yard par-3 fourth hole at the Battle Ground Golf Course. While the champions of the past two seasons, Cyndi Lohmoeller and Ashley Wright, took a big lead after the first day, almost everyone talked about the near back-to-back holes-in-one.

Lohmoeller, the 2011 city champion, shot an even-par 72 in the first round, two shots ahead of defending champion Wright. Wright’s 74 was five shots better than the next two golfers, former McCutcheon star Bethany Hainje, who now plays at St. Joseph’s College, and Lafayette Jeff senior golfer Lindsey Burklow.

Jeff’s all-state golfer, Samantha Hatter, had a tournament-low 24 putts and finished with an 80.
But it was her high school teammates, Halsema and Carlson, who caught everyone’s attention with their feat. A 2000 Golf Digest study calculated the odds of two members of the same grouping making a hole-in-one at the same hole at 17 million to one.

Halsema said her ball landed on the front portion of the hole, but the momentum of the shot kept it rolling toward the pin.

“I thought I hit it a little under, but it kept rolling and it went in,” said Halsema, still excited about the shot after playing 18 holes. “It was crazy. I felt amazing. I was just stunned for the next two holes. I was like, ‘did I really do that?’ ”

After Gretchen King hit her tee shot, Carlson said she saw her ball land 10 feet away from the hole and turned her back to grab her clubs.

“We were thinking, ‘How in the world are supposed to match up to (Halsema’s shot)?’ ” Carlson said. “I hit my shot and I didn’t think I made it there. I turned back around and asked, ‘Where did my ball go?’ They said it went in. I said, ‘No way.’ I didn’t believe them.”

Carlson said she thought her fellow golfers were pulling her leg until she walked up to the hole and saw her ball in the cup.

“We told our coach, but didn’t know if anyone else knew,” Carlson said.

It was the first hole-in-one for both golfers. Carlson finished with a round of 86, just one shot from making the championship flight. Halsema ended with a round of 119.

Lohmoeller and Wright were paired in the first group to tee off Saturday, establishing the standard for the other golfers early. Lohmoeller said her job at the Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex at Purdue came in handy as the day went on.

“I really want to thank Dave Ross for hiring me,” Lohmoeller said with a laugh. “Playing there, seeing how those younger golfers play and the professionalism they show, it may be wearing off on me a little bit. I was able to save No. 18 and not have a blow-up hole.”

Wright, just weeks past gall bladder surgery, said she was surprised by how well she played, but credited her husband and competing with Lohmoeller and Maggie Boaz as inspiration.

“It was a fun, inspiring group to play with,” Wright said. “My husband was my caddy, and he kept me going. I was getting tired at the end, but he was the one who kept telling me that I was doing great and I could do it.”

Hainje said she was more familiar with Coyote Crossing Golf Course, where the final round will be played Sunday.

“It’s going to be a whole new 18 holes tomorrow,” Hainje said. “Coyote Crossing is a course I’m somewhat comfortable with. I will forget about this round, even though it’s one I’m happy with.”

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