BY JIM RITCH, Eastern Shore Post —
A Bay Creek member and resident, Rusty Gates, defied odds in the millions to one and scored two holes-in-one during a single day of golf on Friday, Oct. 6.
Word spread so quickly after the second hole-in-one that “you could hear people yelling on the course, ‘He got another one!’” Gates said.
The first hole-in-one came during a practice round for a member-guest tournament. Joining in his foursome was Gates’ guest, Mike Moore, a Cape Charles homeowner; member Jon Thornbrugh, of Chesterfield, Va.; and his guest, Kyle Richards, also of Chesterfield.
The foursome, which had “an average age of 70,” he said, played from the gold or “senior” tees.
At the seventh hole of Bay Creek’s Palmer course, Gates teed off 151 yards away from the pin using an eight iron.
“We all saw (the ball) appear to go in the hole,” he said.
The hole-in-one was Gates’ first at Bay Creek and came after a 24-year drought. His first hole-in-one had been in 1999 at a course in Richmond.
The foursome finished their round and stopped at the course tavern for a short celebration.
Then they returned to the course for a par-3 tournament.
Although all the long holes in this nine-hole shootout were shortened, Gates’ second hole-in-one came on a legitimate par-3 hole, and he teed off from the regular, gold tee position.
As he lined up, the flag on the hole, the fourth hole on the Palmer course, stood in its farthest front position, just 76 yards away, he said.
He swung a sand wedge “just trying to get the ball on the green,” and the ball rolled into the hole, he said.
The odds of two holes-in-one in a single day are infinitesimally small but hard to calculate.
An Internet search indicated that the chances of two holes-in-one in a single, 18-hole round would be one in 57 million, he said.
However, he played 27 holes that day.
Even without the statistics, his lucky streak was apparent and the lure of extending it later sent Gates shopping for a Powerball ticket, which now has a possible winning amount of over $1.7 billion.
Will we ever know if he wins it?
He says, no.
His holes-in-one taught a lesson that notoriety comes with a cost.
For Gates, that cost on Friday was two bar tabs for about $500.
When not golfing, Gates volunteers as president of Northampton Social Ministry, which provides emergency funds for persons in need.
An attorney, he also serves as court-appointed “guardian ad litem” for disadvantaged people.
He resides at Bay Creek with his wife, Avis.