[Expanded September 21] Three golfers made Country Club history when each scored a hole-in-one at the Prospector Golf Tournament, which wrapped up Saturday.
Club member Justin Cogswell won the big prize, a Chevrolet HHR, with a hole-in-one on the 12th hole of the North Course Thursday. The same day, Eric Johnson, a guest of club member Scott Robertson, won the E-Z Go golf cart when he aced the 10th hole on the South Course.
The next day, John Gipe proved good things do indeed come in threes when he made a hole-in-one on the 7th hole of the South Course, winning glory but no prize.
It was the first hole-in-one for each of them.
The three aces -- from left, Justin Cogswell, John Gipe and Eric Johnson. (Photo by Briggs Matsko)
The Men's Golf Club event is the biggest club tournament of the year. There's only been one other hole-in-one in the tournament's 30-year history, and this is the first time anyone has won a car, according to Men's Club president Briggs Matsko, who was in charge of the event.
Although it's been a banner year for holes-in-one at the club, with more than 20 honored on a plaque at the clubhouse, three of them in two days takes the phenomenon to a new level.
"I've always wanted to get a hole-in-one. Every golfer wants to get a hole-in-one," Justin Cogswell reflected a few days after his ace. "There's an awful lot of luck in it, though. A hundred-and-sixty-yard hole and a four-and-a-quarter-inch cup ... you can hit a lot of good shots and not have any of them go in there."
Luck was with him Thursday when he hit an eight-iron on the 164-yard hole. "I knew it'd be a good shot. I didn't think it was going to go in the hole," he recalled.
Cogswell did better than he realized. While the 12th hole North is usually 164 yards, it was 171 yards when he hit his hole-in-one. According to Country Club President Vince Lepera, when the club or any organization has an event where a prize will be awarded, the cup is set back to at least 170 yards.
The ball hit the sloping green, bounced, and ran back towards the hole. "Then it just disappeared. We could see it clearly. ... I watched it go in and my arm shot up in the air."
Because the tournament had a shotgun start, the 12th hole ended up being his group's last for the day. "So it was perfect. ... from there it was straight to the bar," Cogswell said. "It was my first ever hole-in-one, and to have a car to go along with it and have it in the invitational at the same time was all pretty neat." He's been a golfer for about 18 years.
Before the tournament, Elk Grove resident Eric Johnson joked with golfing buddies about winning the golf cart.
"If I get the hole-in-one, I'm going to have to sell the ranch and move up here," he recalled saying. "Now I'll have to go ahead and do it."
Johnson used a five-iron on the South Course hole, which measured 177 yards. The ball "bounced a couple of times and rolled in," he said. "I was screaming as loud as I could scream."
Johnson said making a hole-in-one was something he's wanted to do since he started to play golf 35 years ago. "You always think of it," he said.
"I'm the one with the hole-in-one that didn't win anything," John Gipe said Saturday at the club by way of introducing himself.
Even so, "it's kind of euphoric in a way," he admitted when asked what the experience was like.
On the South Course Friday, Gipe chose an eight-iron for the 7th hole, measuring 163 yards, and he knew he'd made a good shot.
"When I hit it, I said, if I hit it long enough, it's got to be pretty close." He didn't see the ball go in, so when a tournament volunteer at the green confirmed that it had, "it was pretty cool," he said.
But it wasn't until a couple holes later that it really sank in for Gipe, a golfer for 35 years. "I was thinking, I can finally get one of those plaques in the pro shop. Then I started to tear up," he said.