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Double eagles soar on Long Island

The 18th hole at The Hamlet Willow Creek

The 18th hole at The Hamlet Willow Creek Golf & Country Club in Mount Sinai. Credit: Joel Cairo, 2006

Most of the time, a hole-in-one on a par 4 is the most unusual happenstance in golf. Not here, though, not lately. It happened three times on Long Island in less than a month.

Rob Leff, a White Plains resident who works on Wall Street, was a guest of Woodmere Club member Bruce Blakeman two weeks ago and neither could trace Leff's typically booming tee shot on the 340-yard, par 4 17th hole.

"There is water on the left, and the Rockaway Hunting Club is on the right," said Blakeman, the former Nassau County legislator and U.S. Senate candidate. "We just couldn't find his ball. He said, 'Did it go in the water?' Finally, I said, 'I tell you what. Check the hole.' "

Sure enough, there it was, in the cup for a double-eagle 1, known in golf parlance as an albatross. The downside was that they could not give it the celebration it deserved because Blakeman was in charge of a police benevolent association dinner at the club right after the round.

Mike Dalton, an iron worker from Mineola, was in a Sandy Relief outing at Willow Creek in Mount Sinai Tuesday. The format was a Shamble, in which the foursome selects the best tee shot, then everyone plays his or her ball from there. The group knew that Dalton's drive on the 297-yard par 4 seventh hole was a good one, but was perplexed as it approached the green.

"We couldn't find his ball," said Lou DiBacco, his buddy and teammate. "It was a shotgun start and that was our last hole of the day, so we said the heck with it. My ball was 60 yards short, so we just used that. When we got up there and took the pin out of the hole, his ball popped out."

Dalton was reluctant to consider it a hole-in-one because no one saw it go in, but was convinced by the pro shop staff that it does indeed count.

In the championship flight at Westhampton Country Club's venerable member-member match-play event last weekend, Peter DeBusschere won the 312-yard par-4 13th hole by making a 1. Although the opposing twosome clinched on No. 17, the albatross was a first in tournament history, club pro Bobby Jenkins said.

Bouton, Griffey at Bethpage

Jim Bouton is among the lineup additions for the Players Trust all-star golf tournament at Bethpage Black Wednesday. Ken Griffey Jr. and Gary Sheffield also are among baseball alumni who will play with local golfers to raise funds for superstorm Sandy relief. Anyone who would like to play with the celebrities should email . . . Donald Zucker, who had said he has "big plans" for Long Island National after having bought the Riverhead course in a bankruptcy sale, this week announced that he will make it a private club. It will remain public for the rest of this season.

Locals fare well

Kelly Shon of Port Washington, an amateur who plays for Princeton, nearly beat all of the pros in the Women's Met Open this week. She shot 3-under-par 69 in the final round at Scarsdale Golf Club, finishing second at 1 under, two shots behind Nanette Hill . . . Michael Miranda, the two-time Suffolk high school champion from Middle Country, won the Met PGA's New York City Junior Championship.

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