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    Tuesday, November 29, 2022

    Hole-in-one at Point Judith marked a first for Jim Calhoun

    Hall of Fame men's basketball coach Jim Calhoun has done just about everything in his career, including throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at Fenway Park, but he recorded his first hole-in-one recently while golfing at Point Judith Country Club in Narragansett, R.I. (Elise Amendola/AP Photo)

    Jim Calhoun has played thousands of rounds of golf in his lifetime. 

    Too many for the Hall of Fame men's basketball coach to accurately recall. 

    “I love to play,” Calhoun said. “... I always exaggerate but don’t know if I can exaggerate in the sense of how many rounds I’ve played. I’m sure, without question, it’s thousands. This year, I’ll play probably 150 rounds.” 

    Calhoun, 78, did something that he’s never done during a recent round at Point Judith Country Club in Narragansett.

    He recorded his first hole-in-one, accomplishing the feat using a pitching wedge on the 116-yard, ninth hole.

    He decided to squeeze in a solo round of nine holes that day at Point Judith, which is located about 20 minutes from his summer home. 

    Another golfer witnessed the ace.

    “I hit a good shot and thought it was going to be close,” Calhoun said. “A guy coming down the hill said, 'Holy (expletive), it’s in!' I couldn’t see it because of the bunker in front. When I took the ball out, my hand was shaking.” 

    Calhoun has won 915 games during his college coaching career. He led UConn to 10 Big East regular season and seven league tournament titles and three national championships before retiring in 2012 after 26 seasons in Storrs. He’s been successful in his return to coaching as well, guiding Saint Joseph to the 2020 NCAA Division III tournament in the program’s second season. 

    Yet he still got a big thrill out of his first ace.

    “It was exciting, no question,” Calhoun said. “It wasn’t winning a national championship exciting, but it was exciting. I’ve won more national championships than I’ve had holes-in-one. Hopefully, maybe I can change that.” 

    Calhoun has witnessed his share of aces over the years. He saw George Blaney, his former assistant coach at UConn, notch two.

    He had come close himself several times.

    “I’ve hit the pin, I’ve torn the cup up,” Calhoun said. “It never went in.”

    Calhoun celebrated his hole-in-one by drinking a diet coke after his round. He used his hole-in-one insurance winnings to pay for drinks at the clubhouse. 

    “It was really fun,” Calhoun said. “A lot of my (former) players that I’ve played with, they’ve reached out.” 

    Both the golf ball and flag from the ninth hole will be prominently displayed either at his home or office.

    He also owns bragging rights over his sons, Jeff and James Jr.

    “They’re good players, better than their dad right now,” Calhoun said. “But they haven’t had one.” 

    Calhoun will continue to try to play as many rounds as he can before the basketball season starts at Saint Joseph. He’s also been taking lessons from Larry Demers at Point Judith.

    “He’s a great teacher, which is really good because I never took a lesson in my life,” Calhoun said. “If you saw me play, you’d understand.” 

    Short putts 

    • Mitchell Etess had to go through a familiar foe to win his fourth straight Old Lyme men’s club championship last weekend. He beat Ken Sweitzer, 3 and 2. 

    Etess has reached the final five years in a row. 

    • Norwich Golf Course will crown its men’s club champion today. Defending champ Chris DeLucia carried a three shot lead into Saturday’s third round. He posted a 139 (68-71) in the first two rounds, with Steve Gambeski (69-73—142), John Szarzynsky (71-76—147), Jeff DeLucia (73-75—148) and Jim Sowders (77-773—150) rounding out the top five. 

    In the First Flight, Mike Chenette (75-83—158) took a one-stroke lead over Doug Smith (79-80—159) into the final two rounds while Paul DeLucia, John Crocker and Tim Wynosky sat in a three-way tie for third at 160. 

    The women’s club championship will also be decided today. The first of two rounds teed off on Saturday. 

    • The Elmridge Golf Course Four-Ball tournament has reached the final match. Pat Whiston and David Morrone will play Jim Crowley and Jim Celico at a date yet to be determined. 

    • Bill Hermanson of Black Hall Club tied for third in the Siderowf Division (55 and older) at the 15th Tournament of Champions held on Tuesday at Bull’s Bridge Golf Club in South Kent. Hermanson fired a 1-under 71, finishing just behind Dave Szewczul who beat Frank Geiger on the first playoff hole after both golfers shot a 70.

    Tony Susi of Mohegan Sun Golf Club finished in the top 20, tying for 14th at 76. 

    Former NFA golfer Shawn Hilario, who now plays out of Wampanoag Country Club in West Hartford, tied for fifth with a 71 in the Tettelbach Division (under 55). Corey Jones of Shennecossett tied for 22nd with a 78.

    • The team of Christopher Tallman, Dave Bombard, Dave Watson, Tom Wylie and Jay Milkey combined to win the Connecticut Section PGA Pro-Veteran tournament on Wednesday at Mohegan Sun Golf Club in Baltic. 

    • River Ridge Golf Course is offering a membership promotion where golfers signing up for a 2021 membership starting Monday will be able to play the rest of this year and all of 2021 as well. Contact pro Mark Klotz for more information at (860) 376-3268. 

    Upcoming events 

    • The Connecticut Section PGA Championship starts on Sept. 21 at Wintonbury Hill Golf Course in Bloomfield. 

    • Black Hall Club will host the CSGA Two Man Team Championship on Sept. 28. 

    • Norwich will begin its men’s senior club championship tournament on Oct. 3 and conclude with second-round action on Oct. 4. 

    • Shennecossett will be the site of the CSGA Al Acker One Day Championship on Oct. 20. 

    • Please send golf results and items of interest to g.keefe@theday.com

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