A hole-in-one happens once -- maybe twice -- in the amateur golfer's life. Sinking an ace to win a new car is even rarer.
But two aces -- same hole, same course, same day -- and each for a free car?
Impossible, you might say. Well, almost.
It happened this summer at Sun City Carolina Lakes golf course in Indian Land.
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Indian Land native Randy Potts and Bob Newmarker of Hilton Head both made hole-in-one shots last month during a membership golf tournament at Carolina Lakes.
Both aces happened on the par-3, 16th hold, where tournament sponsor Griffin Pontiac-Buick-GMC of Rock Hill was giving away free Buick Lacrosse sedans to anyone who guided a golf ball 174 yards -- past water and sand traps -- to the cup in one stroke.
"Unbelievable," Eddie Pittman, Griffin sales manager, said Tuesday when he handed over the keys to the two golfers. "In the more than 25 years we've been ... sponsoring golf tournaments, we only had to give away one car. Then it happens twice in one day."
Potts, a 75-year-old retired teacher and coach at Indian Land High School more than 30 years ago before launching an insurance sales career, was the first golfer to make the hole-in-one.
"I was mad because I three-putted the hole before, so I wasn't even thinking about the car," he said Tuesday, surrounded by balloons and his new, $25,000 navy blue Buick. "I just hit it as hard as I could. Didn't want to get beat."
Potts, who sold his Indian Land farm and moved to Clemson a few weeks ago, said he hit the ball over the hole with a Taylor Made 7-wood. But he couldn't see it after the ball rolled across the green. When he and his playing partner approached the green, Potts' number 2 Nike ball was resting in the cup.
News of the hole-in-one spread quickly around the course, so when Newmarker, 60, reached the 16th tee moments later and repeated the feat, he assumed only one car would be awarded.
"I thought for once in my life what I wanted to happen on the golf course actually happened and I'm not even going to win the car," the retired information technology expert said.
But the fine print of the contest specified any hole-in-one would win a car -- not just the first one.
"The insurance company probably wasn't too happy," quipped Pittman, the sales manager. Griffin carries insurance to cover the cost of the cars.
Both winners said they're having a hard time deciding what to do with their fully-loaded Buicks.
"I just bought a brand-new car in January," Newmarker said.
He wants to keep the Dodge van he purchased, so he might give the new Lacrosse to his wife, Beth.
Potts said he doesn't want to part with his pickup, and his wife has a Lexus. He's still deciding whether to keep or sell the vehicle.
"I'm just glad the ball went in the hole," Potts said. "I would have missed the putt."
What are the odds?
While a hole-in-one might seem rare, it actually happens more often than you think. A look at the odds of scoring a few unlikely events:
- Hole-in-one at a pro tournament: 1 in 5
- Winning any S.C. lottery prize: 1 in 36
- Being struck by lightning in your lifetime: 1 in 5,000
- Hole-in-one by an amateur golfer: 1 in 12,500
- Two aces on the same hole at the same event: 1 in 32,000
- Holding a royal flush in 5-card poker: 1 in 649,740
- Winning the Powerball lottery jackpot: 1 in 146 million
-- Sources: Foresite Sports, National Weather Service, Powerball and SportingLife.com.