Golf

Peck scores rare double eagle at Westview

Jason Peck holds the ball he hit for a double eagles on the sixth hole at Westview Golf Course earlier this month. | Submitted Photo
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Sep. 15, 2018 8:30 pm

QUINCY

Jason Peck didn't know what to do.

"It took me a minute to realize what happened," he said.

Ben Van Ness, one of his playing partners knew just how rare of a shot Peck had hit.

"(Peck) was in shock, but I went nuts," he said. "It was incredible."

Peck made a double eagle on Sept. 5 on the sixth hole at Westview Golf Course. A double eagle, also known as an albatross, is when a player scores a 2 on a par 5 hole.

How rare is a double eagle?

According to the National Hole-in-One Registry, the odds of the average golfer making a hole-in-one are 12,000 to 1. The odds of a PGA Tour player making an ace is 3,000 to 1.

The Double Eagle Club, formed in 1997, touts itself as "the worldwide registry for double eagles scored" and claims that its first president was PGA legend Gene Sarazen. The club states on its website that the odds of a double eagle are an estimated 6 million to 1.

Dean Knuth, who was senior director of the handicap department at the USGA from 1981 to 1997 and now a Golf Digest contributing editor, told PGA.com that the odds actually are about a million to 1.

One study a few years ago estimated there are about 40,000 aces made in the U.S. every year, compared to about 200 double eagles.

It usually takes two very good shots to have a remote chance for a double eagle, but Peck wasn't happy with his drive. The ball was in the rough on the left side of the dogleg left fairway, and it nearly rolled into the fairway on No. 7.

"I was about 10 yards from a tree, so I had to hit a high cut shot around the trees," Peck said. "I saw it off the club face, and I thought it would be good. It went over the trees and everything, and I started looking at the green.

"I saw it hit, and I saw it roll in. It took me a minute to realize what happened. I didn't know how rare it was."

Van Ness and Mitch Ertel, the third member of the group, were both about 150 yards down the fairway from Peck when he hit the shot. Van Ness said his mother made one several years ago.

"The Quincy University men's and women's golf teams were standing on the No. 8 green, and they heard me scream," he said. "They all gave (Peck) a little standing ovation."

Peck, 35, played golf as a teenager but concentrated on baseball in high school. He went to college and eventually started working in Edwardsville, and he didn't pick up the game again until three years ago when he moved to Quincy to work at Dick's Sporting Goods.

"(Peck) still has a baseball swing," Van Ness said with a laugh.

Peck, who shot a 77 that day, said he tries to play at least twice a week and he's never taken any lessons, other than taking a few suggestions from Van Ness on the course.

"I try to play all the time now," he said. "I'd play every day if I could."

Peck was in shock when he made his double eagle. Now he realizes what a special shot it was.

"It's one of the greatest moments I've ever had in any kind of sporting event," he said. "I hit some good home runs in baseball, but I haven't played that much golf. It was nice to see all that hard work finally pay off."

RARE SHOT

How rare is a double eagle? Only seven were found in The Herald-Whig digital archives going back to 1999:

Sept. 2016: Jeff Smith, No. 6, Westview

Nov. 2011: Mike O'Connell, No. 5, Westview

April 2006: Katie Hopkins, No. 5, Westview

July 2004: Chris Hogge, No. 6, Spring Lake

Sept. 2003: LeRoy Rossmiller, No. 9, Indian Trails (Camp Point)

Sept. 2000: Randy Schlueter, No. 5, Westview

August 1999: Bill Birsic, No. 13, Spring Lake

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