, Port Arthur, Texas

April 15, 2014

West golf notepad: Fifteen handicap gets 2 aces within 9 holes

Bob West
The Port Arthur News

PORT ARTHUR —     All stories about golfers scoring a hole in one are good, but some are infinitely better and more head-scratching than others. For instance, consider the recent tale surrounding 53-year-old John Ponter of Baden, Pa.

    Ponter, on a trip with three buddies to Myrtle Beach, recorded his first hole in one, then repeated the feat nine holes later. Odds against two aces in the same round are listed at 67 million to one.

    Overcoming such a mind-boggling number, however, is only part of how the golf gods put Ponter in the right place at the right time.

    On this particular day, in one of golf’s busiest locations, Ponter and his buddies didn’t even have a tee time. They called one of the area’s most popular courses — Oyster Bay — at 7:30 a.m. and were told they were in luck, that there had just been a cancellation. But they needed to hurry, since the opening was less than an hour off at 8:20 a.m.

    As fate would have it, and fate was certainly in full control, the 8:20 slot was on the 10th hole. It had to have been or there wouldn’t be a story.

    Ponter, a 15-handicap who said he only plays golf a couple of times a year, struck for his first ace on his sixth hole of the morning, No. 15,  which featured an island green. From 109 yards, he swung a 9-iron, watched the ball bounce a couple of times then disappear into the cup.

    Everyone in the group had pretty much calmed down by the time the foursome reached its 15th hole of the day — No. 6 on the scorecard. After another player made a joke to Ponter about getting a second hole in one, he selected an 8-iron for the 135-yard shot and watched in amazement when his tee shot once again ended up in the cup.

    “My reaction was disbelief,” said Ponter. “Both of the shots were right at the pin, took a few bounces and rolled in. I thought, ‘Nobody is going to believe this.’ ”

    Later, back at the clubhouse, Oyster Bay pro Tim Jackson, said Ponter’s demeanor wasn’t what you would expect from a golfer who pulled off such an improbable feat.

    “I think the guy was in shock,” said Jackson. “He was very nonchalant when he got back to the clubhouse. We were telling him, ‘Dude, you need to play the lottery.’ ”

        In case you are wondering, the two 1s on the scorecard helped Ponter shoot an 89.

        CHIP SHOTS: Josh Crum of Nederland couldn’t match Ponter’s two aces but did get to celebrate a hole in one at Babe Zaharias. Crum, sank a 9-iron from 143-yards on No. 15 for what was his second ever hole in one. The shot was witnessed by Lonnie LaBove, Jordan Leger, Tim O’Brien and Price Youngs . . . John Guidry couldn’t brag about a hole in one, but he did author two eagles within 9 holes at Zaharias. Guidry started his round by holing a 9-iron from 113 yards for an eagle 2 on No. 1, then came back to roll in a 5-foot putt for an eagle 3 on the par 5, 9th hole. With the two eagles, he shot even-par 36. Witnesses were Bert Miller, Ken Duhon, Frank Jackson and Randy Vincent, Duhon, by the way, while witnessing Guidry’s two eagles, shot a one-under-par 71 (36-35) that matched his age . . . The foursome of Ted Harp, Vince Jabbia, Lee Briggs and Adam Anderson put together a 53 to win the Port Arthur Sertoma Club Scramble at Belle Oaks. Second at 55 was the team of Robert Bodin, Kyle Landry, Buzz Dupree and Bryan Jackson. Third with a 57 was the team of Michael Parker, Jaden Ellender, Justin Sonier and Charlie Jordan. Closest to the pin winners were Roy Martinez (No. 3), John Werthington (No. 8) and Thad Kieschnick (No. 14). Ellender won the long drive on No. 14 . . . The team of Cap Hollier, Pat Waite, Carl Certa and Tom Duhon finished with 24 points to win the Babe Zaharias DogFight. Tying for second at 22 points was the team of Tom Lawton, Ray Trahan, Bill Hernandez and Allen Suire and the foursome of Adam Noel, Ron Theriot, Don Duplan and Tom Duhon. Closest to the hole winners were Noel (No. 2), Mark Petry (No. 7), Rick Pritchett (No. 12) and Harold Wilkinson (No. 15) . . . The Senior 50 Plus Game at The Babe was played in a 2-ball format. On the front, the team of Earl Richard, Billy Tucker, David Arnaud and Richard Sibley won with minus 5. The back was won in minus 6 by the team of Larry Thompson, Butch Cross, Butch Pitman and Mark Petry . . . The Super Saturday Game at The Babe was played in a 2-ball format. The front ended in a tie at minus 6 between the team of Price Youngs, Andrew Sigur, Carl Certa and Ron Sciarilla and the team of Roddy Weatherly, Ivory Hatch, Gene Hardy and Dwayne Benoit. The Youngs team won the back with minus 6 . . . The Senior Game at The Babe was played in a 3 ball format, with the team of Larry Foster, Gene Hardy, Pete Reobroi and Stedman Tahaney winning the front in plus 10. On the back, the team of Larry Johnson, Bob Byerly, Bob Moore and Larry Rogers won with plus 2 . . . Entries are being taken for the 7th annual Estelle and Allen Fetters Center Scramble April 26 at Belle Oaks. Over the past six years, the tournament has helped the Groves Knights of Columbus raise $60,000 for the facility which benefits physically and mentally challenged adults. Entry for a four-person team is $200, with all golf fees, food and drinks included. Call Leroy Falcon (962,5047, 960-2475) or Mike Melancon (962-4755, 289-1781) for more information.

        Golf news should be e-mailed to or faxed to 724-6854.