Pair of Aces – Golfers Strike it Rich
The unbelievable happened when two Cleveland, Tennessee, golfers scored a hole-in-one on the par three, 181-yard 17th hole at Cleveland Country Club within 40 minutes of each other. The back-to-back aces occurred August 18 during the 11th Annual March of Dimes Golf Classic.
Recent winners, Matt Jenne and Steve Scoggins were the lucky local amateurs who aced the hole, and each carried off a hefty $100,000 in prize money. First American Equity was the sponsor for the prize money provided through National Hole-In-One Association.
It was the second career hole-in-one for Jenne, who knew he’d done something spectacular when he saw a tournament volunteer who was observing the hole start jumping up and down moments after Jenne teed off.
“I was just out there at the golf tournament, having fun for charity. I hit the ball as hard as I could and it felt good, like it could go in. I couldn’t tell at first if it was there or not,” Jenne said. “But when I saw (the volunteer). . start jumping up and down, I knew I’d won.”
Jenne said that after taxes and giving something back to the March of Dimes, the rest of the prize money will go into a college fund for his 2-year-old son.
Less than an hour later, Scoggins stepped up to the same tee to score his first-ever hole-in-one. Only later did he discover that he also would take home the six-figure prize money.
“I hit a five iron and to be honest, I never saw it go in,” said Scoggins. “I didn’t know if it paid (a second $100,000) or not. So I didn’t think I had the money. When they verified they paid consecutive prizes, I was pretty elated.”
$1 Million Hole-In-One Makes History
For the first time in the 18-year-history of the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl $1 Million Hole-In-One competition, a lucky golfer struck the mother load – an ace on the final round of the 11-day charity event.
Ray Mills, a Phoenix, Ariz. golfer, said he was “numb” when he heard the crowd roar and realized he had made history on Dec. 8, 2002 – along with the huge winning purse.
Earlier in the event, Mills had nailed his first-ever hole-in-one, making his achievement on the last day of competition even more spectacular. AT&T and Ernst & Young were sponsors of the prize money, which was provided through National Hole-in-One Association.
“I’ve been golfing for more that 30 years,” Mills said. “I hit my first hole-in-one-ever on Wednesday, and my second one on Sunday.” Mills admitted that when he stepped up to the tee for the final round of the contest, he was driving for the consolation prize – hoping to get his ball closest to the pin to win the all-expenses paid trip to Hawaii.
“Thirty-four players made the final competition,” he said. “I was about 23rd or 24th to compete that day. I watched some of the good golfers swing way too fast, so I tried to swing very slowly. I made really good contact with the ball – I was just happy I didn’t make a fool of myself. It was obviously a good shot. The crowd at the green got noisier and noisier as the ball got closer. Then they erupted.”
That’s when Mills knew he had accomplished the unbelievable – a hole-in-one with a $1 million dollar purse.
“We have about 60 events year-round for the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl,” said Shawn Schaeffler, the nonprofit organizations vice president for media relations. The 11-day contest, which was established in 1984, is held to raise money for college scholarships and is one of 40 events that took place in the month of December, leading up to the Jan. 3 bowl game.
Mills’ record-making event sweetened the day for Fiesta Bowl officials, who the same day were able to announce that the Miami and Ohio State would play for the national championship in the Fiesta Bowl less than a month away.
The NHIOA is proud of its association with many charitable events over the years. More than $50,000,000 in prizes has been awarded to numerous worthy causes through the NHIOA’s assistance during its 32 year history. The Tostitos Fiesta Bowl competition marks the fifth time the NHIOA has awarded a $1 million hole-in-one prize.
The National Hole-in-One Association offers hole-in-one insurance packages to benefit charities and non-profit groups that use golf tournaments to raise funds. NHIOA’s promotional packages include an important benefit called prize restoration that allows the prize to be awarded multiple times. The NHIOA has awarded five $1,000,000 hole-in-one prizes and over $50,000,000 in prizes through the years. Having two cars won on the same day for a hole-in-one event is not uncommon, but the two $100,000 prizes were a first for the company.
Big Bass Nets Big Bucks
Covington Stephen and Jack Morey of Mims, Fla. were pretty excited to learn their 10.28 pound bass took the 2nd place prize in the Wolfson Children’s Hospital Bass Fishing Tournament held May 17 at Lake Palatka, Fla.
But when they heard that the weight was an exact match to the predetermined weight in the Grand Prize Promotions Matching Weight contest, they got really excited! “It floored me,” said Morey, who netted the fish Covington caught. “I just jumped up and hugged my partner.”
Their $10,000 prize was the first time in the tournament’s 14-year history that a fish weight has been a winner, said tournament co-organizer Linda Starling. “When a fish is caught, we call Grand Prize Promotions to see whether the weight is a match or not. When we realized we really had a match, everyone there went wild,” Starling said. Grand Prize Promotions, which is an affiliate company of the National Hole-In-One Association, offers special prize programs for all types of promotions, including fishing tournaments.
Not only did Covington and Morey win the Matching Weight contest, they also won $1,000 for the 2nd biggest fish and $700 for their overall 8th place finish. Not bad for a day’s fishing!
Since the tournament began in 1989, it has raised more than $800,000 to benefit the endowment fund of Wolfson Children’s Hospital at Baptist Medical Center in Jacksonville, Fla. This year, the tournament raised approximately $88,000. There were 1,084 participants fishing from 542 boats. Fishermen’s entry fees are returned as cash prizes. Money for the endowment is raised solely through cash donations and sponsorships.