In what can only be described as an extraordinary feat, John Payne of Woodstock, Ontario, stunned the golfing universe, by accomplishing a feat that defies even the most extreme statistical probabilities.
For 62 years, in the enveloping silence of the golf course punctuated only by the occasional whispering wind, the whack of a club hitting a ball, and the echoed cheers of an occasional hole-in-one by his friends, Payne yearned for his moment of glory. That moment arrived – twice – on the greens of Sally Creek Golf Club this Sunday.
Barely a chill-laden breath had passed since his inaugural hole-in-one, when a second ball sunk effortlessly into the hole with a grace usually reserved for seasoned players. Payne was at a loss for words in the face of his newfound dual glory. “I can’t quite believe what just happened,” he confessed later, visibly awestruck by his unprecedented achievement.
The statistical likelihood of two golfers achieving a hole-in-one in the same round is a staggering 67 million to one, according to the National Hole in One Registry. It’s a feat so remarkable that it has only been mirrored thrice on the illustrious greens of the PGA Tour.
The 13 or 14-handicapped Payne, who had hitherto jovially dubbed himself a “professional hole-in-one witness,” could finally erase the tagline. His delightful surprise was well echoed in his words, “No one is more stunned than my golf buddies, who are well aware of my struggles on the course.”
The memorable day began under a grey, overcast sky, with temperatures barely gracing the zero-degree mark. Notwithstanding the arctic chill, Payne, along with his friends Tom Shaddick and Jake Deverell, trudged on to the nine-hole course with stoic enthusiasm.
As the trio marked their foray onto the 104-yard third hole, a resonant thud was heard. Their jubilant eruption followed the sight of Payne’s ball nestled snugly in the cup. Just three holes later, amidst the aftershock of Payne’s first ace, the unbelievable reoccurred; his second hole-in-one.
Throughout the joyous celebration, Payne confessed to contemplating a lottery ticket given the run of luck. However, he decided against it, suspecting his impressive luck reservoir had likely been depleted for the day. Despite the remarkable turn of events, Payne’s final score rested modestly in the mid-eighties, with the Sally Creek Golf Club course proving challenging even under inclement conditions.
But for every amateur golfer, Payne’s feat serves as a beacon of hope, illustrating that miracles can happen. His message was clear and encouraging, “Hold on, keep practicing, keep hitting the ball, this instance stands as proof – triumph can be a swing away.”