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Just days apart, two golfers from the same school accomplished something that most will never. According to golfdigest.com, the odds of an amateur golfer getting a hole-in-one are 12,500-1.
Now, a betting man likely isn’t taking those odds, but if he is, a safe bet seems to be on Lincoln-Way East golfers: senior Jessica Loera and freshman Brandon Butcher to be exact.
Loera always takes one deep breath before she tees off to clear her mind.
Still searching for her first birdie of her round, which was filled with pars, she took a deeper breath on the 12th hole — a 148-yard, par-3 — at Silver Lake Country Club, in Orland Park, after a bogey on 10 and another par on 11.
The putter stayed in her bag this time as she found her ball sitting at the bottom of the cup for a hole-in-one.
“I didn’t actually see the ball go in the hole,” Loera said. “I knew it was going to be pretty close to the hole but I didn’t think it would be in until after I walked away and didn’t see my ball on the green anymore and then I realized it was in the hole.”
To make it even more special, it was at the Griffins’ Conference Tournament Sept. 25.
“I was really happy when I got it because I was playing well that day,” Loera said. “I was on a string of pars and getting the hole-in-one made me more confident with my game and I finished strong afterwards. I wanted to play well that day because it was a conference tournament and I had never done so well in conference tournament before.”
From the first tee shot of the day, to the final putt of the round, it’s a competition for the girls. But when something like that happens, time freezes for a second and everyone can enjoy it.
Embraced with hugs and seeing the dropped jaws as her and the opposing players realized what just happened, Loera couldn’t help but crack her own smile and get a confidence boost going forward.
She said the girls she was playing with had never seen a hole-in-one before.
“I was shocked, because I didn’t think that was going to happen,” she said. “I thought I was just going to have a tap-in birdie putt, but it was in the hole.”
And just days before Loera’s ace, Brandon Butcher got in on the fun on Sept. 20.
For Loera, it was a deeper breath, but for Butcher, it was having his good-luck charm by his side.
His grandfather was the one to get Butcher started in golf and was there to witness Butcher’s greatest golf memory to date.
“It’s always someone’s dream to get a hole-in-one,” he said. “It just felt really special to have everyone around and just get it done.”
Just like Loera, Butcher is a straight-at-the-pin type of golfer. No fade. No draw. Just one perfect, straight shot.
From 137 yards out, Butcher went 8-iron straight at the flag on the fourth hole at Square Links Golf Course.
Before his ace, his greatest memory was winning first place in junior golf at Lincolnshire Country Club two years in a row.
He said that was his greatest memory because it was nice to win, but he had never done anything this “big” before.
“I was already having a good day and after that, it didn’t get any better or any worse,” he said. “I just had that confidence running throughout. I had a great first few holes and this sort of boosted me up.”
And as just a freshman, Butcher etched his name into East’s record books, and, well, golf’s record book in general.
As a freshman in the golf program, Butcher liked that he was able to showcase his talents.
“It feels good that the coaches know you got a hole-in-one and they can expect something from you next year,” Butcher said.
RIGHT: Griffins’ freshman Brandon Butcher got his hole-in-one on Sept. 20 on the fourth hole from 137 yards out at Square Links Golf Course in Frankfort. Photo submitted