Rickie Fowler

How Tom Gillis and Rickie Fowler were a combined 5 under on one hole

Just the other day, out of the blue, Trevor Gillis asked his dad if, in all his years playing professional golf all across the globe, he’d ever had an albatross — or a double-eagle.

The answer, then, was no. Tom Gillis has had 12 or 13 holes-in-one (he seriously can’t remember!), but never had accomplished the rarest of rare golf feats.

The answer, today, is yes.

From left, Rickie Fowler, Trevor Gliwski, Tom Gillis and Jimmy Kenney at The Grove XXIII on Saturday.

From left, Rickie Fowler, Trevor Gliwski, Tom Gillis and Jimmy Kenney at The Grove XXIII on Saturday. (Photo: Courtesy photo)

Gillis, playing a casual round Saturday at Michael Jordan’s exclusive The Grove XXIII club in Hobe Sound, Florida, holed a 4-iron from the rough, over water, on the par-5 17th hole. And the best part: He needed that 2 to win the hole. One of his opponents, Grove member Rickie Fowler, made an eagle.

Yes, the two of them were a combined 5 under on a par 5.

“I had only 201 in the rough, but over water. I thought, I gotta go for this or he’s gonna think I’m a wimp,” Gillis said with a laugh. “I probably would’ve laid up in a tournament. So I hit the 4 iron, it looked good, but I couldn’t see it. It was into the sun. There was a glare. Then Rickie hit next, and hit it like 2.5 feet behind the hole.

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“I’m the first one up there, and I only see one ball. He’s using one of those logo balls that looks like a soccer ball, and I could see that was his. Mine must’ve rolled over. I’m looking over the green, in the bunker, I don’t see anything.

“There’s water in front of the green so maybe it bounced in the creek, and I was gonna walk over to the creek when I looked in the hole, and it was in there.

“Rickie’s over there talking to Trevor (Gliwski) and Jimmy (Kenney), and I just said, ‘Yours is good.’ You guys are one down on the press. We all started laughing.”

In case you’re wondering how rare an albatross is, consider this: At the Masters, there have been 31 holes-in-one, but only four double-eagles.

Tom Gillis' picture of his rare double-eagle.

Tom Gillis’ picture of his rare double-eagle. (Photo: Courtesy photo)

Gillis immediately shared the news with the increasingly popular Metro Detroit Golfers Facebook page, which absolutely ate it up. “First one ever,” Gillis wrote.

It actually wasn’t an otherwise spectacular round of golf for anybody in the foursome, including Gliwski, Gillis’ old college teammate at Coastal Carolina, and Kenney, an assistant pro at The Grove who set up the game.

Fowler and Kenney had closed out Gillis and Gliwski on the 16th hole, so Gillis and Gliwski pressed — in other words, they started a new bet for the remaining holes.

Fowler, on a break this week after not qualifying for the PGA Tour Championship, and Kenney won the 18th hole, so that press was a push. 

Gillis, a Lake Orion native now living in Jupiter, Florida, and set to resume Champions Tour play this week in South Dakota, and Gliwski lost about 10 bucks.

Worth every penny.

“That,” said Gillis, 52, “was pretty cool.”


Twitter: @tonypaul1984


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