Golf gods hail Connelly with par-4 ace | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Golf gods hail Connelly with par-4 ace

Steve Yingling

Dan Thrift/ Tahoe Daily Tribune Matt Connelly, a former STHS basketball and baseball player, scored his first ace on the 237-yard fifth hole at Bijou Municipal Golf Course on Tuesday.

Next time it’s raining or hailing, think twice about retreating to a dry clubhouse before your round is complete.

Matt Connelly of South Lake Tahoe didn’t let Monday’s hailstorm prevent him from finishing his nine-hole round at Bijou Municipal Golf Course.

As a result, the 22-year-old Connelly will have a golf story to tell for the remainder of his life. The former two-sport athlete at South Tahoe High aced one of Bijou’s four par-4 holes after his round was interrupted by Mother Nature a few holes earlier.

The improbable double eagle came on a saturated 237-yard fifth hole. The former STHS guard faded his tee ball with a driver and lost track of it after it bounced in front of the green.

“I walked up there and couldn’t find it, so I asked my brother (Mike) if I could take a free drop in front since we saw it hit there,” Connelly said. “But right before I dropped it, I asked him to check the hole. Sure enough, it was sitting there in the bottom of the cup that was filled with water.

“Getting a hole in one is unbelievable. Granted, it’s a short par 4, but I couldn’t believe it.”

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Mike, still searching for his first ace, couldn’t believe his brother’s good fortune either.

“It was pretty amazing. You couldn’t have hit a full putt to make it go 6 feet at the time,” said Mike, remarking on the wet conditions on the course.

Like a good brother, Mike didn’t let the ace pass without a little needling.

“My brother was trying to rain on my parade. He told me that if the weather was beautiful I never would have made it,” Matt said.

The brothers and a playing partner from Sacramento waited for 15 minutes for the rain and hail to subside after completing the third hole. Having already paid for their rounds, they decided to tough it out when the rain let up. What followed was something right out of “Caddyshack,” when the priest holed nearly everything during a thunderstorm.

“He shouted that it was the ‘greatest game of my life’ a couple of times, and it definitely was,” Mike said.

Matt heightened his chances of scoring an ace this summer, playing 27 holes a day four or five times a week. In fact, he nearly aced the same hole two weeks earlier.

“I saw the dew line and it was 3 inches left off the hole before rolling to the back of the green,” Matt said.

Matt played a round of golf in Reno on Monday morning and followed it with the hole-in-one round at Bijou later that day.

“He’s into it,” said Bill Connelly, Matt’s father and sometimes playing partner.

A plaque in the Bijou pro shop commemorates all of the aces. Prior to his round, Matt envisioned someday joining those greats.

“I didn’t know I was going to be up there on the plaque that day … I was overwhelmed,” Matt said.

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