By Rich Myhre Herald Writer
As a dad with two small children, Bradley Johnson of Everett can look forward to many more Father’s Day celebrations.
But it will be hard for the gift-givers in Johnson’s family to top the memories of this year. Because the 25-year-old Johnson ended up with 18 holes of golf to enjoy for an afternoon and a remarkable golf moment to remember for a lifetime.
On June 16, Father’s Day, Johnson’s wife of 41/2 years, Devoney, presented him with gifts that included a round of golf at Arlington’s Gleneagle Golf Course. Johnson decided to cash in his free round the next day, June 17.
And on the par-5, 466-yard 11th hole — Johnson started on the back nine, so it was his second hole of the round — Johnson knocked in a fairway shot for a double-eagle 2, one of the rarest accomplishments in golf.
“I was so happy I almost fainted,” said Johnson, a 2006 graduate of Everett High School, where he played three years on the varsity golf team. “I’ve had a couple of hole-in-ones, but this (was even better). It was two pure shots, and the second one went in the hole.”
Seeing the ball disappear from more than 200 yards away, “I could barely contain myself,” he said.
Holes-in-one are the golf shots most people want, but double-eagles are even more uncommon. They can happen with a big drive on a short par-4, but usually require two long shots on a par-5 with the second shot falling in the cup.
According to Golf World magazine, there were 631 holes-in-one on the PGA Tour from 1983-2003, but just 56 double-eagles in the same 20-year period and never more than six in a single year. And the odds are probably even higher for average golfers, given the difficulty of making two great shots on one hole instead of just one for a hole-in-one.
On that momentous day, Johnson began with a bogey on No. 10 — his first hole — before moving to the 11th tee. Because of a waste area that would come into play if he hit his driver, he opted for a 3-iron that carried about 240 yards. He stayed with his 3-iron for his second shot from “a perfect lie, right in the middle of the fairway.”
Playing a slight draw, Johnson landed the ball on the front right portion of the green. The ball, a Titleist Pro V1, bounced once and then rolled toward the flag in the back center of the green.
The ball was rolling fairly fast, Johnson said, “and I said, ‘Sit down.’ But then just as I said that, I saw it disappear.
“It hit the pin hard enough that I could hear it all the way back (in the fairway). And it had to hit dead center for it to go in. I was lucky for sure.”
Because Johnson was playing by himself, he knew he needed a witness. A young lady named Quinn Kesselring, who was driving the beverage cart that day — in fact, she had just sold Johnson a Gatorade — was driving back toward the 10th hole. Johnson tried to call her back, but she couldn’t hear him, so he called the pro shop on his cell phone “and the pro turned her around. She came back probably less than two minutes later and I was still standing in the same spot where she sold me that drink.
“We approached the green together, and I told her the ball and the marking that she’d find in the hole.”
Another golfer passing by the hole also was there to witness as Johnson took the ball from the cup.
Head pro Darren Tucker, a former golfer at the University of Hawaii (he has two career double-eagles and three holes-in-one), said it was the second double-eagle at Gleneagle in early June. Chad Corcoran of Arlington knocked his second shot in the cup on the par-5, 435-yard fifth hole.
“It’s pretty unique that in a two-week span you have two different individuals making double-eagles (on the same course),” Tucker said.
For Johnson, who has an 8.2 handicap, his great moment on the 11th hole did not translate to the rest of the round. He was understandably a bit giddy and “shot horribly” for the remaining 16 holes, finishing with an 82 on the par-70 course.
But he was not complaining.
As Father’s Days go, “this was amazing,” he said. “A lot of guys will hang out and drink beer on Father’s Day because they’re relaxing. But my thing is golf. So to get out there and have the best thing happen that I could imagine, it was a perfect Father’s Day.”