East Alabama Sports Today
Nothing was going to keep Kenny Szuch from making his annual pilgrimage to one of the most iconic golf courses in the country to play in an event he hasn’t missed in over 30 years. Not even a bad back.
The Cane Creek PGA Professional tweaked his back two weeks ago — in the interest of full disclosure, it was right after a round with me — but after it flared he was determined to do whatever it took to make The SWAT at Oakmont. What happened next made it worth the effort.
Szuch’s team won the day’s play Friday with a 63 as he delivered a shot for the ages – a double-eagle 2 on the par-5 ninth. He brought the crowd sitting on the clubhouse porch to their feet when he holed a 4-iron from 220 yards.
Good thing it found the hole. Oakmont’s greens for the SWAT are taken down to faster than you can imagine. There are legendary stories of players four-putting from six inches on the fastest greens in the game.
The blind tee shot hole is guarded by a lateral hazard fescue ditch on the left, pot bunkers on the right (15 total on the hole) and two large mounds fronting a green one acre in size with the back portion used as the practice putting green, measures 477 yards uphill and plays as a difficult par-5 for the Members.
“The entire field of over 260 players and SWAT Committee surprised me with a standing ovation at the dinner, ” said Szuch, whose resume includes playing collegiately at Florida State and stints on the European Tour. “(Oakmont Head Professional) Bob Ford informed us it was the first double eagle ever recorded on the Par 5 ninth hole in the 112 year history of Oakmont CC.
“My team of eight other players gave me an autographed Oakmont flag which they signed with ‘Nice Double Eagle’ on it. Could not have happened at a better place and my favorite golf course in the world. Enough to make an old pro get choked up. What a day.”
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