There have been big to-dos at Sun Willows Golf Course the past couple of weeks, starting with Brian Barton shooting a 59 on Aug. 29, and continuing Sept. 4 with Dwight Rogers and Dave Pierce hitting back-to-back holes in one on the 125-yard Hole No. 2.
“It is just something that is hard to explain,” Pierce said of the aces. “It’s like watching a train wreck, but better. It was fun to be a part of it with Dwight. It’s a great memory.”
It’s OK to marvel at Barton’s 13-under-par 59; it’s an accomplishment only eight players have reached on the PGA Tour.
“That was pretty awesome,” Barton said of his round that included eagles on Holes 11 and 15 — both par 5s — on the Pasco course. “It’s a culmination of the hard work I have put in this year. I have been working on my putting and my iron game, and the mental aspects of things. I hope it’s not a one-time thing. The week before, I was 8 under through 13, but it was getting dark and we had to rush through. It’s nice to have a round where everything clicked.”
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The feat was witnessed by David Vonghalath, this year’s Sun Willows club champion, and Scott Brown.
“It’s kind of funny, we all played really well on the back nine,” Barton said. “I had a couple of eagles and we were feeding off each other out there.”
Barton played the round after competing in a WSGA tournament at Wine Valley in Walla Walla earlier in the day, where he was tied for 23rd after the first round of the Washington State Men’s Mid-Amateur Championship.
He thought he would get in a little extra practice before Round 2 the following day, but little did he know he would play a round to remember.
Barton returned to Wine Valley the next day, shot a 65 and eventually finished second to Michael Ciez of Walla Walla, who beat Barton in a playoff.
Barton, 27, is a 2007 graduate of Pasco High School, and played collegiately at Whitman College, where he earned an economics degree. He then went on to get his nursing degree at Washington State University’s Spokane campus. He is an intensive care nurse at Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland.
“Golf is focusing on yourself, then you go to work and you are taking care of people, thinking about others and giving back,” Barton said. “It’s a nice balance.”
The 6-foot-6 Barton started playing golf in the third grade, and has honed his skills over the years.
His best score at Sun Willows before Aug. 29 was a 63. He broke the course record of 62 that was held by Jim Zimmerman, Todd Beyers, Keith Best and Mike Hodgins.
“I had a 64 a couple of times at tournaments, one at Moses Pointe, and a 65 at Canyon Lakes,” Barton said. “I’ve had a few good rounds on the west side.”
The PGA Tour is a goal of Barton’s, but he said he needs get a little better.
“I need to play in some bigger tournaments,” he said. “I played well in the Washington State Mid-Am, but I need to test myself against better players. Mike Kasch from (Pasco) Golfland has been working with me. He said I have the game for it, I just need to keep playing.”
Rare aces in the hole
Pierce and Rogers completed a feat that is considered rather rare.
The National Hole in One Registry website in the United States quotes the odds of two players from the same foursome acing the same hole as 17 million to one.
Pierce and Rogers were in a group of five, but that likely has little affect on the odds.
Pierce, 60, has been a member at Sun Willows for roughly 30 years, and the ace was his second.
“The first one was on the same exact hole,” said Pierce, who lives in Richland but is a teacher at Park Middle School in Kennewick. “Now I know how people feel when they win the lottery.”
Rogers, 59, was the first to card his ace during their round.
“His shot was just a laser,” said Pierce, who noted that they both used a 9-iron. “It hit once, rolled about 18 inches and went in. Everyone went ape (expletive) crazy. Gary Anderson said, ‘How are going to follow that?’ I hit the ball, it went up, landed two inches from the hole and rolled in. It was pandemonium from there.”
Rogers, who lives on the ninth hole at Sun Willows, said the ace was his third. He hit one on Hole No. 7 at Sun Willows, and another at a course in South Carolina.
“It was fun,” he said. “There’s been a lot going on out there the past couple of days.”
Pierce and Rogers were on the course when Barton shot his 59.
“We say Brian is too nice of a guy to play with us,” Rogers said. “He is such a nice kid. He doesn’t fit the average model of the idiots who go out there. Every time Brian tees it up, he is expected to shoot a 68. He was our club champion last year.”