One in 144 million: Two Vermont golfers record holes-in-one on same hole

Links at Lang Farm

One in 144 million: Two Vermont golfers record holes-in-one on same hole

Golf

One in 144 million: Two Vermont golfers record holes-in-one on same hole

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Rob Gaboriault knew he’d stuffed his shot pretty close. Bob Maritano couldn’t quite tell what happened to his — maybe pretty good, maybe a little left. His eyesight isn’t what it used to be.

At any rate, a small knob on the front of the green obscured their view of the hole from the tee box.

“That’s why we couldn’t see them go in,” Gaboriault said. “I still can’t believe it happened.”

The duo’s friendly afternoon round at the Links at Lang Farm had barely begun when it graduated to lore Tuesday afternoon. Gaboriault bagged his first hole-in-one from the white tee on the 156-yard par-3 10th hole and Maritano, playing from the red tee a few yards closer, followed suit moments later with the 18th of his career.

One hole. Two swings. Two aces.

“I was in a daze. To have one hole-in-one, even if it was Bob’s or mine, is something that’s pretty unbelievable,” said Gaboriault. “But to have both be in the hole on your first shot of the day … things like that just don’t happen.”

Except it did. When the twosome reached the green, Gaboriault’s Nike and Maritano’s Callaway were resting side by side, waiting to be plucked from the bottom of the cup. Gaboriault used a 5-iron, Maritano a 5-wood, according to Gaboriault.

Odds of back-to-back holes-in-one?

The odds? One in 144 million.

That figure is based on the 1-in-12,000 chance that an amateur has of recording an ace, according to the National Hole-in-One Registry.

Golf balls belonging to Rob Gaboriault and Bob Maritano sit in the cup after the pair recorded holes-in-one playing together on the 10th hole at the Links at Lang Farm on Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2019. (Photo: Links at Lang Farm)

On average, a “1” is etched on a scorecard once every 3,500 rounds. But that figure clearly doesn’t hold true for Maritano, who, despite his efforts to play every day, has collected so many in his decorated career that he’s forgotten most of them.

“I remember my first hole in one. That was down in Farmington (Conn.) in ’69 in a driving rainstorm,” said Maritano, the 1981 Vermont Amateur champion. “Probably three-fourths of them I can’t remember the dates. They don’t even faze me. But this one did because it was with a friend and it was his first.”

And here’s the kicker: Like his other four aces — yes, four — this season, including three in the past 10 days, Maritano couldn’t see it go in. A case of macular degeneration has severely limited his vision in his right eye.

“I lose the ball in flight probably 25 yards out,” Maritano said.

These days he can still make out the flag in the distance and uses that to line himself up. He gauges whether the shot is on line by how it passes over a spot he picks out in front of the ball on that line.

“My swing hasn’t changed in 50 years,” he said. “It’s the same speed, same everything. It’s all tempo. I was taught tempo and I stay with it.”

Meanwhile Gaboriault, who plays with Maritano several times a week, was beginning to doubt he would ever get an ace. He joked that it seemed like his playing partner was hogging them for himself.

“I figured if I played with him long enough some of that might rub off on me,” Gaboriault said.

Tuesday, at least, the eye-popping start set the stage for an afternoon spent under par. After soaking up congratulations for more than an hour before they could continue their round, Maritano cruised in with a 1-under 30 on Lang Farm’s back nine. Gaboriault tacked on another eagle on a par-4 to finish 4-under, a career-best.

“It was quite a day for me,” Gaboriault said.

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