By Craig Dolch
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (March 23, 2016) – Talk about the luck of the Irish.
Pat Rooney Sr. of Palm Beach Gardens and owner of the Palm Beach Kennel Club, along with friend Dan Boyle of Philadelphia did the unthinkable March 19 – two days after St. Patrick’s Day – on the 135-yard fourth hole at Trump National Jupiter.
Boyle, playing first, hit a 8-iron that appeared to be on a good line, but the hole was obstructed by a large greenside bunker. “I saw the ball roll right of the hole and then it disappeared, said Boyle, a salesman. “I thought it was 12 feet away.”
The 77-year-old Rooney, hitting last in the group that included Chris and Anthony Rooney, took a rescue 6-iron and hit his shot on virtually the same line as Boyle toward a green that slopes from right to left.
As they rode the cart to the hole, a caddie at Trump National who was standing on the green, laughed and raised both hands with one finger in the air. The foursome’s caddie walked up to the green and, incredibly, found both Rooney’s and Boyle’s golf balls nestled against each other in the cup.
“I thought he was kidding us,” Rooney said. “It was a shocker. It was my fifth hole in one and I never thought I would make another one. What made it so special was this was Dan’s first hole-in-one.”
Said Boyle: “I’ve been playing golf since I was 20, and Pat has always let me know he’s had hole-in-ones before and I haven’t. For both of us to make them together was surreal.”
The odds of two amateurs making a hole-in-one in the same foursome is astronomical. The National Hole In One Association says the odds are 1 in 26 million, according to data they have collected the last 30 years through hole-in-one insurance plans.
Rooney, who understands the odds as well as anyone – his father Art Rooney Sr. used gambling winnings to originally buy the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers, and Pat has been working at race tracks since 1963 – was thrilled to be the “1.”
“I knew it (odds) would be a lot,” Rooney said.
A further display of their luck: A severe storm hit last while they were playing their next hole. They didn’t even make it to the clubhouse to buy the ceremonial round – or in this case rounds – of drinks.
“I’ve paid my dues, believe me,” Rooney said. “I made a hole-in-one at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland, and that cost me plenty. One of the biggest thrills of my life.”
Until last Saturday.
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