A hole-in-one – on just the fifth try

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 21, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

Nathan Harris didn’t understand what all the fuss was about. He didn’t know why Oakland Elementary School physical education instructor Anne McCoy and Principal Suzanne Rice were jumping around the fifth green of the Portsmouth City Park links course, clapping and cheering for him.

After all, he’d only done what golfers are supposed to do – put the ball in the hole. And after just four holes of golf in his short career, the 11-year-old had done it the quickest way possible: in just one shot!


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&uot;Is that good?&uot; thought the fifth-grader. Perhaps he’d try to do it more often from now on. After all, that way, golfers don’t have to worry about chipping and putting!

&uot;I love playing golf, and I love teaching lifetime sports,&uot; said McCoy, who works part-time at Bide-A-Wee, the park’s sister course. &uot;I love teaching lifetime sports.&uot; For the past four years, she’s been taking groups of Oakland students out to the nine-hole park for an afternoon of golf.

&uot;I was just going to try golf because I’d never played it before,&uot; Nathan said. &uot;It looked fun.&uot; Last Friday, he and the rest of Suffolk’s youngest Phil-Mickelsons-in-training headed to P-Town’s Pebble Beach.

For the first four holes, Nathan &uot;did pretty well.&uot; Then he looked at the fifth flag. Planted in the middle of an elevated green, it stands 105 yards from the tee at the end of a narrow fairway. On either side lie wooded areas, with bunkers in the background.

McCoy and Rice were standing on one side of the green, the hole hidden from their eyes. Nathan lobbed up his tee shot, and it rolled onto the green and out of the instructors’ view.

&uot;We started clapping and telling Nathan he’d done a good job to get it on the green,&uot; McCoy said. Then they went up and looked for the ball.

&uot;We didn’t see it,&uot; McCoy said. &uot;Just for fun, I looked in the hole.&uot; Her eyes widened as large as the sphere she discovered.

&uot;We started screaming and yelling,&uot; McCoy said with a laugh. &uot;We were so surprised.&uot; Nathan had become the first young linkster in her program to eagle a par three.

&uot;I was really happy,&uot; said Nathan, who won a putter and a hat for his accomplishment.

On the bus home, McCoy yanked out her cell phone and called Nathan’s mother Wanda, a teacher at Oakland.

&uot;I told her that her son needed to talk to her,&uot; she said. &uot;He wasn’t in trouble and he hadn’t gotten hurt; he had just had something cool happen. We were all pretty excited.&uot;

Nathan isn’t sure when his next ace will come. &uot;I might keep playing, but I haven’t decided yet,&uot; he said. &uot;I’ll probably just play for fun.&uot;