WEST CALDWELL, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Erroll Cook said he knew the first shot off the tee at Mountain Ridge Country Club was a good one the moment he hit it. The second, though, two holes later, was the real surprise.
The 73-year-old cancer survivor is one the few people on the planet ever to have sunk two holes-in-one in the same round of golf, let alone the same nine holes.
It happened last weekend when Cook was playing with friends on the manicured Donald Ross Course in West Caldwell. The first shot was on the 14th hole, a straight 150-yard Par 3 that looked good leaving the tee but rolled out of sight after landing on the green. Cook, his partners, and the caddy all searched the area without luck until they found his ball where they least expected: in the cup. He’d aced it.
That’s happened before. Twenty minutes later, though, Cook joked at the tee of another Par 3, when he was asked what the odds were of doing it again (his partners didn’t know off-hand but subsequent research indicates the odds are roughly 1-in-67 Million ). They laughed, he swung and they watched it happen again.
“It want over the water,” he told CBS 2’s Lou Young, “and there’s a (sand) trap. It went over the trap, then five yards to the right and all of us just went hysterical when it went in!”
Fellow golfer Dr. Joel Matkin said they were all amazed.
“I think our eyes popped out of our heads. It was dramatic,” Matkin said.
Cook said he doesn’t remember his reaction but added, “They told me I fell down laughing. It didn’t sink in for a little while.” He paused and then broke into a broad smile, “It still hasn’t sunk in.”
Matkin said he immediately checked on Cook to make sure he was okay. The retired financial executive has had health problems over the years, including a serious bout with cancer that he beat with a bone marrow transplant 19 years ago. Cook assured his friends he was fine. Back at the clubhouse some were skeptical at first, but then transitioned to amazement as the witnesses all confirmed his claim.
“He is a good golfer,” buddy Marty Sarver said, “but not THAT good.”
When asked how Cook would explain it then, Sarver said, “You can’t. It’s just wonderful.”
Fellow golfer Norm Feinstein said he’s had three holes-in-one in decades of playing golf, but had never heard of it happening twice to the same golfer in the same round.
“You can’t put odds on it,” Feinstein said, “because I’m not sure it’s ever happened before.”
It turns out that in the history of the sport roughly 150 people have managed the two-in-one trick. Very few, though, managed to accomplish the feat in the same nine holes. It’s only happened twice on the PGA Tour. Daniel Chopra managed it on the 7th and 17th holes at Pebble Beach earlier this year during a practice round.
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