State College golfer pulls off rare feat
By John Dixon
For the CDT
OK – admittedly the headline isn’t about me. But buried down deep in the article is this blurb:
At Toftrees, State College’s Lanny Sommese collected his third career hole-in-one using a 25-degree hybrid club to ace No. 15, a 185-yard, par-3 hole. Playing partners were Tom Minisker, Larry Fall and Fred Riley.
Of course, as with most holes-in-one, there’s a story involved.
The hole is a long par three that’s fairly flat. As you can see, it’s well bunkered but there’s an open runway in the front of the green. The tee was located at about #3 in the photo and the pin was at the back of the green but centered so it was clearly visible between the two front bunkers.
Lanny thinned the shot and it never got more than maybe five feet off the ground. It just made the short fairway but was dead on line for the green. As it hit the fairway, Tom jokingly yelled “Get in the hole”. Amazingly, the ball kept rolling. As it got up onto the green, Tom remarked “You know, these are the kind that go in.”
Sure enough, it just kept rolling and rolling but it looked like it stopped right at the hole. We thought it was awfully close but we didn’t think it was in. Driving up the cart path, our view of the pin was hidden by the right front bunker until we actually got to the green. It was a real surprise when we got there and there was no ball in view – that’s when we realized it had gone in. It was pretty windy and I suspect that the ball was initially caught against the flagstick. Undoubtedly, the blowing wind shook the stick just enough for the ball to drop in.
When we got to the next hole, I turned to everyone and said “Any zeroes? No? I guess you’re up, Lannie.” I borrowed that line from my buddy Tod Jeffers who used it when he had a hole in one with me on one of our Florida Bowl trips.
I’ve never had a hole in one but I did hole out a 130 yard shot. I was playing a course in New York and hit my tee shot slightly to the right on a hole that had a blind landing area. The hole basically went out 180 yards, then went downhill into a valley. The drives collected at the bottom of the valley and then you had a blind uphill shot to the green. When I got down there, I couldn’t find my ball even though it clearly should have been in play. There was casual water near where the ball should have been and my playing partners said to just drop a ball. I said I wasn’t going to because technically my ball was lost and since I had a match going with a guy in the group behind us I was going to play it by the rules.
I went back to the tee and reteed. By the time I got to my ball my playing partners had all hit their second shots and were up around the green. Because I was low in a the valley my shot to the green was a blind one also. I took an eight iron and hit it pure right at the green. All of a sudden my buddies on the green started yelling “It went in!”. So the net result was a spectacular par (and, oh yes, I won the hole from the guy behind me that I had the match with).