Lori Roche

Golfers duel with a brace of aces

Playing partners both score hole-in-one on front nine during Eaglecrest Ladies' Club session

Elly Smith managed quite a distinction during last week’s round of the 18-holer Ladies’ Club at Eaglecrest Golf Club: She was the only member of her playing group who didn’t sink a hole in one.

Lori Roche, who has been a regular golfer for only a year, dropped her first career hole-in-one on the par-3 third hole. Four holes later, Sonya Miller, the other member of the threesome, scored her third career ace.

“I’ve never had one,” said Smith, who has been golfing for nearly 30 years. “What a missed opportunity; they were going around.”

“We were bugging Elly that she had to get a hole-in-one,” Miller said. “She did get a nice chip-in on No. 14.”

The unusual round was the talk of the club as the other ladies’ club teams came trickling into the clubhouse afterward.

Roche, 64, first took up the game as a high-school student, but put it aside except for the occasional company scramble tournament while living and working in Vancouver. She began playing regularly after moving to Qualicum Beach last year and joining the Eaglecrest club.

“I’m not a good golfer by any stretch,” she said. “It was a fluke. It was my first hole-in-one and I expect it to be my last.”

She said she saw her tee shot on No. 3 hit the green, but then lost sight of the ball. None of the three women actually saw it go in the hole.

“I just happened to say, ‘Your ball’s disappeared; I can’t see it anymore,’” said Smith. “She said, ‘It’s probably gone off the back (of the green).’ I said, ‘The other choice is it’s gone in the hole.’

“Of course, we all laughed about that.”

Roche went straight to the back of the green to look for the ball, but couldn’t find it. With Smith still joking that it was probably in the hole, Roches strolled — “very slowly” — back to the hole and discovered her ball resting at the bottom.

“She said, ‘Oh, it can’t be,’” Miller said of Roche’s reaction. “She was all excited. We couldn’t believe it. Somebody had told me there hadn’t been a hole-in-one on ladies’ day in the last five years.”

It would be a much shorter wait for the next one.

Miller, who first took up the game in 1985, carded her first hole-in-one that same year, on an 85-yard hole at Osooyoos Golf & Country Club.

that disappeared the next day when the course was redesigned. Her second came in 2010, in her first year on Vancouver Island, while playing in a newcomers’ tournament at Arrowview Golf Club.

When the group reached the next par-3 hole, No. 7, Miller was the last player to tee off.

“I though, ‘Oh, it’s going onto the green. Good.’ Then I bent down to pick up my tee and when I looked up I didn’t see the ball.”

Just as with Roche’s shot, neither did anyone else. This time, all three women walked to the back of the green to look, but Smith decided to walk back and check the hole.

“Elly said, ‘Here it it,’” said Miller. “We all laughed and laughed and laughed and whooped. Unfortunately, the group in front of us was still teeing off on the eighth hole and we stopped one of them in her backswing.”

“The group teeing off on the other hole were saying, ‘What’s going on?’” Smith added.

Back at the clubhouse after the round, Roche was docked for the traditional round of drinks charged to golfers who score an ace. Miller, who has been to this rodeo before, got off the hook for her tab thanks to her purchase of hole-in-one insurance.

“You can pay for insurance at the start of the year, and everyone is allowed a certain value amount for drinks,” Miller said. “All the money that’s left at the end of the year is goes toward a hole-in-One banquet. Although I think there’s been six or seven holes in one this year, so we’ll probably have hot dogs.”

While Miller now has three holes in one on her resume, she can’t recall another golfer scoring an ace on the same day.

“A hole-in-one is very unusual to begin with,” she said. “And we were in the same group. That’s really bizarre.”

After her partners’ two aces on the front nine of the round, Smith admits she made her tour of the back nine with “butterflies,” wondering if her turn might be coming.

“I started thinking, ‘When’s mine coming?’” she said. “But it was a wonderful day. I don’t think I’ll ever see that again.

“If I do, though, I hope I’m one of the ones getting it.”

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