Aces wild: Former Hermantown standout records three holes-in-one
Zero holes-in-one through 2012, then three in 77 days. It's been a good year for Hermantown's Andrew Oakes, a junior golfer at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minn. The Gusties are tied for No. 4 in the Division III men's rankings and hea...
Zero holes-in-one through 2012, then three in 77 days.
It's been a good year for Hermantown's Andrew Oakes, a junior golfer at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minn.
The Gusties are tied for No. 4 in the Division III men's rankings and head to the NCAA tournament May 14-17 in Destin, Fla.
And Oakes is looking forward to the Florida trip, knowing his ace trifecta began there three months ago. He had no inkling of what was to come as he and some of his college teammates took a golf trip to Ponte Vedra Beach. On the fourth of eight rounds, he used an 8-iron on the par-3 No. 13 hole to an elevated green at the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club Lagoon Course on Feb. 4.
"You really couldn't see the ball hit and land, but it looked good and you want to think there's a chance it went in. But how many times do you think that?" Oakes said by phone last week.
One month later, he was back in Ponte Vedra Beach at a different course, TPC Sawgrass, but same 6-iron and same result.
"This one I saw and I couldn't believe it," said Oakes.
The third was recorded April 21 at Otter Creek Golf Course in Ankeny, Iowa, this time with an 8-iron. All three hit the green and rolled into the cup, which supposes more accuracy than luck. Golf Digest once calculated hole-in-one odds, indicating that for a low-handicap player, like Oakes, it is 5,000 to 1.
He had three within 15 rounds, all in non-tournament play.
"I was in disbelief, like my eyes were playing tricks on me," Oakes said of the third hole in one. "After that, with that kind of luck, I should've bought some lottery tickets."
Oakes, 20, has put together strong credentials since playing on good Hermantown High School teams. He won the 2011 Reidar Lund Memorial at Enger Park Golf Course and, in 2012, was second at Reidar Lund and the Cloquet Invitational and third in the Lakeview Medal at Lester Park Golf Course.
At Gustavus, he's second in stroke average, at 74.5, behind senior Alex Kolquist of Hermantown.
"If a guy was ever to have this happen to him (three holes-in-one) it would be Andrew because he's such a good ball striker," Gustavus coach Scott Moe said. "He's worked hard on his game and has a good chance to be an All-American."
Moe was an All-American for the Gusties in 1995 and is in the school's athletic Hall of Fame. He's built a program that claimed a seventh Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title in his 17 years last fall to earn an automatic NCAA bid.
Hermantown has been a main contributor recently with Kolquist (the defending MIAC champion) and Oakes (who tied for fourth in the league), and freshman Andrew Krasaway, part of the 2012 Minnesota Class AA runner-up Hawks team.
"Alex and I are such good friends and when we talk about Gustavus, we have nothing but good things to say because we've had such a great experience," said Oakes, who has a 3.8 grade-point average and is majoring in financial economics. "We tied for 12th last year in the NCAAs, and we're a much better team this year. We believe we have a good chance to win."