By JAMIE BAKER
When Dale Cohen got off work from his third-shift job at Continental Structural Plastics in Carey, little did he know what would happen to him in the next few hours.
His round of golf at Sycamore Springs Golf Course near Arlington was one-in-a-million.
Check that, one-in-67-million.
On that unseasonably cold, wet and blustery day, he had a round most golfers can only dream of.
Early in the round, Cohen pulled out an 8-iron and shot his first career hole-in-one on No. 2.
Six holes later, he used the same club to ace the No. 8 hole.
According to the National Hole In One Registry, the odds of making two holes-in-one in a single round are estimated at 67-million-to-one.
On Monday, Cohen, a 62-year-old Findlay resident, was the “one.”
“I hit the lottery but didn’t get paid. That’s OK, I’ll take it. It’s fine with me,” Cohen said Thursday, recounting his round.
“There’s always conversations around the golf course about holes-in-one. People will say, ‘I know someone who had two in one round here.’ That will be me. There are still people who probably won’t believe it.”
The last time someone recorded two holes-in-one in the same round on an area course was in 2002 when 68-year-old Findlay resident John Blide scored a hole-in-one at the 144-yard 12th hole while playing with Hugh and John Moore at Hillcrest Golf Club. Later in the round, Blide, a member of Hillcrest for more than 40 years, aced No. 17, a 193-yarder. Blide died in 2016.
Cohen’s feat nearly didn’t happen.
Many of the players in the weekly Monday morning outing that Cohen plays in didn’t show for the 9 a.m. scheduled start because temperatures were in the low 40s with 20- to 30-mile-per-hour winds.
Only two foursomes showed up among the course’s tournament club players who regularly play on Mondays.
Cohen was in a group with Dave Deeter, Denny Dantuano and Denny Underwood.
“We barely got a foursome together. They couldn’t mow the rough because of the water, the conditions were terrible,” Cohen said.
“On the par threes, though, you really don’t have an excuse. We were playing and things weren’t going real well because the conditions were pretty tough that day,” said Cohen, who grew up playing baseball and football in Miami before moving to Arizona and on to the Findlay area 14 years ago.
“The first one I hit, it was about 135 yards off the blue tee. It hit about 4 to 5 feet (away) and rolled to the right and went in, nice and slow. It was like it was meant to end up there.
“Don’t get me wrong, I was happy, because I never had a hole-in-one before. I wasn’t about to go out of my mind and yell because hey, people do it every day,” he added.
Cohen, who finished the round with a score of 89, was preparing to play his second par 3 of the day — the 138-yard No. 8 hole.
He pulled out the same lucky neon green ball he used on his first hole-in-one, but his playing partners warned him against it.
“We were at the second par 3, which you have to go over water, and I took the ball out that I got the hole-in-one with and my partners told me I shouldn’t use it because I needed to save that ball,” Cohen said. He took their advice.
“I hit my 8-iron again… It landed, I’d say, maybe a foot or so away and rolled in from the right. When I hit it, I thought to myself, no one is going to believe this, no one is going to believe this.”
Cohen was more animated after his second hole-in-one of the day.
“I’m just a 17 handicap. I ran up there and started screaming, ‘Yeah! Yeah!’ and the other group thought I was pulling a prank because I had the first one. The people I was playing with drove over and told them it wasn’t a joke, that I got a second hole-in-one,” he said.
“My partners told me to try and play 18 to make it a legitimate round. The other group went back in but we played all 18, and as we finished, it started pouring. It’s something I never imagined. I was out there and wondered if I was dreaming.”
Cohen has played hundreds of rounds of golf in the many years he’s played the game, and he’s been close to hitting a hole-in-one in the past. It’s not something he really thinks about when he steps into the tee box on a par 3.
“I just try and get close to make a birdie,” Cohen said. “My goal at the beginning of the year was to break 80. All of this happened, but I still have that goal.
“With golf, you never know. I play some holes like a scratch golfer, I play some holes like I’m pathetic.
“I love to compete. I can still play golf and be somewhat competitive at it at my age, and that makes it fun.”
Monday was a long day for Cohen and certainly a day he will remember.
“I went to work Sunday night at 11 p.m., got off, came here to the course at 9 a.m., didn’t go to bed until 8 a.m. the next day. I was up for like 34 straight hours. I was amped,” he said.
“This is something I can look back on and enjoy for the rest of my life.”