One of the many appealing things about a routine round of golf is that it provides the possibility of doing something or seeing something that not even the best players in the world would be able to do, at least not on that particular day. For one shot, or one hole, or a few holes, or even a round, anyone who plays golf can pull off the incredible, the unthinkable.
Joe Ryan, 60, had a day like that recently, making three eagles in one round, all by virtue of holing shots from well off the green. A nine-year member at Weston Golf Club, it happened on his home course, while he was playing with Ben Kincannon, Jim Maselan, and Chuck Dornbush. If they hadn’t seen it, they probably never would have believed it.
“It’s certainly exciting. You come off the course after a round like that and you can’t stop laughing,’’ Ryan said. “What are the odds? It’s not terribly uncommon to get an eagle on a par 5 if you get to the green in two and make a putt, but holing it out from the fairway is kind of unusual.’’
Ryan, who plays to a 9 handicap, made his first eagle on No. 6, a 473-yard par 5. He was 90 yards away after two shots, and wedged his third toward the hole, which was cut at the base of a bowl. The ball landed about 4 feet right of the hole, took the slope, and dropped in for an eagle 3.
One down, two to go.
The seventh hole at Weston is a 372-yard par 4. Ryan chose 3-wood off the tee, and was left with a 130-yard second shot to a green where the pin was tucked back left and water lurked short, left, and long. He chose an 8-iron and sent his approach at the flag, seeing only a trace of sand kick up when his ball landed on the green because of a nasty glare. He thought it would be close, but couldn’t find his ball when he reached the green.
“We’re looking around, looking around, I can’t understand it. Finally I go over and look in the jar, and there it is. So I say, ‘It’s in the hole!’ ’’ Ryan said. “Now it’s back-to-back eagles, and that’s pretty rare. One of the guys in my foursome is telling everybody, and we’re laughing and joking about it.
“Then I think: Should I take this ball out of play? I don’t want to lose this ball, but it seemed to have something going for it, so I decided to keep playing it.’’
A string of non-eagles followed, but when Ryan’s group reached the 18th hole - a 496-yard par 5 - he said at the tee, “Now guys, this is an eagle hole.’’ Jokingly, he insists.
Two decent shots put Ryan’s ball 50 yards away in the middle of the fairway. He went with a 56-degree wedge - the same club he used on No. 6 - for his third shot, which headed straight for the target. It landed inches short, took a few rolls, and disappeared. One final, improbable eagle, all three made with the same ball in a 13-hole span.
Without benefit of a birdie, Ryan shot 77. Three eagles, seven pars, six bogeys, a double bogey, and a triple. He’d never made two eagles in a round, much less three. But he was able to add to his personal eagle list at Weston: He’d previously eagled Nos. 13 (412-yard par 4) and 14 (523-yard par 5). His only hole-in-one came some 20 years ago at Cohasset Golf Club.
“We saw [Weston golf professional] Adam [Hemeon] as we were coming off the 18th green, and he said I should immediately go to Foxwoods,’’ Ryan said. “All I’m thinking is I should get inside so I don’t get struck by lightning.’’
Tiger Woods decided to film and release a 14-minute video clip that showed him answering questions sent in by fans regarding the state of his game, this week’s Wells Fargo Championship, and next week’s Players Championship. Great idea, until it was learned that he was doing so in place of his regular pretournament press conference. Deciding which softballs to field - not to mention maintaining the ability to edit or reshoot the video if he’s not satisfied with his answers - is hardly the same as spending a few minutes with the working press, with whom he’s gotten testy at times. Woods hasn’t played since he tied for 40th at the Masters, which included an ugly club-kick on the 16th tee. Dodging the media when there’s a chance he’d be asked about his unruly behavior and subpar play smacks of someone with extremely thin skin. Think Jack Nicklaus or Arnold Palmer would ever resort to such tactics? They understood that their fame and place in the game brought with it certain responsibilities. Woods - who also skirted the media after Wednesday’s Wells Fargo pro-am - might be on to something with the interactive fan video, which he posted on his website at www.tigerwoods.com. But it should come in addition to, not at the expense of, his PGA Tour obligations . . . There were 9,006 entries for this year’s US Open, the fourth most in tournament history. The record of 9,086 came three years ago for the Open at Bethpage Black. This year’s US Open is June 14-17 at The Olympic Club in San Francisco; 18-hole local qualifying will take place across the country at 109 sites, with 36-hole sectional qualifying scheduled for June 4 at 11 locations . . . Donald Trump’s course, Trump National in Bedminster, N.J., has been chosen as the site for the 2017 US Women’s Open.
Three Massachusetts schools will participate in the men’s NCAA Division 2 tournament, with regional play starting Monday. Bentley, champion of the Northeast-10 Conference, will be joined by UMass-Lowell and American International at the East Regional in Hershey, Pa. . . . Chris Congdon teamed with Matt Bianchini to shoot 68-72 and beat Andrew DiRamio and Matthew DiRamio (70-72) by two shots to win the 34th Cronin Memorial Tournament at the Country Club of Halifax. It’s the third straight year Congdon has won the event; in 2010 and 2011, he had his cousin, Scott Congdon, as his partner. In the Lambert Division, Kevin Smith and Mike Callahan (73-75) won by one stroke over Stephen Smith and Mark Pendergast (75-74), Mike Spadea and Mason Prange (74-75), and John Mirabile and Neal Goldberg (72-77) . . . This year’s “Tame the Tigers’’ event will expand to a second course and give golfers a choice of format. The fifth annual fund-raiser, hosted by WEEI’s John Dennis, once again held at the International Golf Club in Bolton, is scheduled for May 14. Proceeds go to the Jimmy Fund; the tournament has raised more than $250,000 over its first four years. Entry is $500 per person, and includes golf, meals, and player gifts. To register, or for more information, call 1-866-521-4653, or visit www.tamethetigers.org . . . Entries are still being accepted for this year’s Cape Cod Open, which features a purse of more than $25,000 (with $4,500 going to the low professional). The 21st playing of the tournament is May 30 and 31 at Olde Barnstable and Hyannis. Entries must be received by May 25. For information, visit www.ccopen.com . . . Troy Pare (Wannamoisett Country Club) and Jeff Martin (Norton Country Club) won their second New England PGA Pro-Pro Match Play championship in three years, beating the Kernwood Country Club team of Frank Dully and Steve Bramlett in the final, 3 and 2, at LeBaron Hills Country Club . . . Four two-man teams had a better-ball score of even-par 72 at Myopia Hunt Club to share top honors in the NEPGA’s Massachusetts chapter pro-pro event. The winners: Patrick Good (Dick’s Sporting Goods) and Brian Smith (Nashawtuc), Smith and Stephen Colt (Bass Rocks), John Fields (Belmont) and Jake Willis (Bass Rocks), and Scott Johnson (Oakley) and Lou Katsos (Blue Hill) . . . Rich Berberian of Hoodkroft shot a 1-under-par 70 to win the NEPGA Assistant Association tournament at Eastward Ho! Country Club . . . A tip of the cap to Stephen Small, who recorded his first hole-in-one recently. Playing with Robert Zaiger at Sandy Burr Country Club, Small used a 4-iron to make his ace at the 175-yard 10th hole.