Turns out, the likes of Peter O’Keeffe, Sara Byrne and Karl Bornemann aren’t the only golfers from Douglas hitting the headlines. Rowan McCarthy, a Perth convert from Cork, has pulled off a five hole stretch of golf that nobody’s ever achieved.
A week ago, the 20-handicap golfer teed up at the local public course in Australia like it was any other day. Then he pulled off a double whammy believed to be 72 billion-1 in the making – a hole-in-one on a par-3 followed three holes later by an albatross on a par-5.
“I am still trying to get my head around it,” McCarthy told the Irish Examiner. “Statistically, the chances of a hole-in-one are 12000-1 and an albatross is 6 million-1. The odds of one of each in the same round…who knows? Some say it is 72 billion to one.”
“It is a day I will never forget.”
And why would he? The 32-year old, who’s lived in Australia since 2011, has only been playing golf for five years. Some would play for a lifetime and never come near a hole-in-one, never mind an albatross. Suddenly the two outstanding feats arrived in one round, and the kicker? The five-hole stretch from the 11th hole read: Triple-bogey 7, Hole-in-One, Double-Bogey 6, Triple-bogey 7, Albatross 2.
“I had a triple bogey on the 11th par-4 but then my day changed on the 12th,” he explained.
“It was 169 metres to the pin. It was the best seven iron that I ever hit. There was a little draw, and then boom it was rolling on the green. With the sun we didn’t see what exactly happened. One of the guys with our group said ‘I think it rattled the flag.’
“We hopped into the carts and headed to the green. I was joking about having had a hole-in-one at Douglas Pitch and Putt club back in the day but they shot me down saying I couldn’t claim that as it wasn’t a golf course!
“One of the other guys got to the green before us and he started shouting ‘it is in the hole, it is in the hole.’
“I wasn’t buying it. I thought he was just trying to wind me up and catch me out. So I went to see for myself and there was my ball sitting at the bottom of the hole.
“We started jumping around and shouting like mad. Another group were teeing off alongside us and they joined in with the celebrations. Apparently, we could be heard at the other side of the golf course.”
“Naturally the guys put the news onto a WhatsApp group so the phone started hopping straight away. I was so excited. It felt surreal. I didn’t know what was going on. My mind was completely out of the game. I think I hit a double bogey on the next hole, then a triple bogey.”
If the phone was hopping before, it would explode with what came next.
“People are calling it the five wildest holes in history,” he said after landing the rarest bird in golf on the par-5 15th.
“I hit a good drive of about 250 metres, there is a bit of an arc and the ball rolled a bit after that. I was still about 185 metres out, in the sand, so I punched a five iron down. It came in at an angle on the green. Again we couldn’t see the ball though we knew it was on the green. When we realised it was in we started jumping, shouting and high fiving. It was just crazy.”
Despite his rollercoaster round, the Cork man’s score of 84, his third best ever, claimed the spoils in the competition too, and after buying his fellow competitors a round of drinks at the bar, the celebrations would continue for days, with the story of his heroics travelling around the globe.
This great game of ours never ceases to amaze, where on occasion, your average swinger can produce a shot that even the pros would be proud of; enough to bring them back for weeks on end. In McCarthy’s case, it could prove that nobody ever recreates his magic five-hole stretch. No wonder then that he’s set up an Instagram account to mark the occasion, one worthy of a follow, if for no other reason than to marvel at his card and remind yourself than anything is possible in golf!
“It is a page inspired by the greatest five hole stretch of all time,” he says. “The ambition is that this will influence and give hope to the average golfer that anything is possible.”
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