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76th Republican Newspaper Hole In One Contest Tees Off

SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WGGB) –Some tried and true traditions have stood the test of time here in Western Massachusetts.

The Republican Newspaper hole in one contest is one of those traditions.  Monday, for the 76th time, local golfers were out in force trying their luck at the shot of a lifetime.

The Veterans golf course was in great shape, like it always is this time of year.  There is still plenty of time to get out there and play.  But if you play in the Republican hole in one contest, you’ll get three chances to grab the local golf headlines.

“The key to being successful is just don’t let anything get inside your head and just hit the shot”, said Scott Hildreth
“Last year was fun.  It was raining out so the ball stuck and I was close.”

Scott Hildreth knows the secret to success in the hole in one contest.  He won it last year with a shot that landed just two feet one inch from the cup.  That made him this years defending champion, and Scott had a lot of challengers.

With Russ Held, the Republican’s golf writer looking on, another big group of local players tried their luck at golf’s ultimate shot.

Players came to play, to catch up with old friends, and just to enjoy a great day and the opportunity to compete.

There were years when more than 400 players would try their luck at winning the contest.  And of the thousands upon thousands that have tried, only one hole in one was ever recorded.  And that was back in the 1930’s.

So for many at the Vet on Monday, it was all about having fun.

“I had one good one”, said Westfield’s Chuck Caldes.   “First one I hit was left.  Last one I hit I hit thin.  But the middle one I hit to five feet or something like that, that was my good shot.  But that’s already been beaten by Bill Scott.”

His friend Bill Scott notwithstanding, nobody has a hole in one story like Rick Cyr from Feeding Hills.  His hole on one adventure tops them all.

Back in 2007 Rick hit a terrific shot that was destined for the bottom of the cup.  Only problem was he missed it by that much.

“I knew it was a nice shot”, said Cyr.  But then all of a sudden on the radio they called back and they said, “It’s unmeasurable.”

“That was pretty much, I was still a bit in shock.  I said what’s unmeasurable?  They called back again and said it’s overhanging the edge of the cup.”

One more dimple, one little gust of wind and Rick would have had his hole in one.  He won the contest, but is still looking for that elusive hole in one.

Which brings us back to this years event and Wilbraham’s Cindy Peret.  Cindy plays her golf at the Veterans.  She managed a hole in one as a teenager, but Monday had to settle for a shot that landed just inches from the hole.

“The first one I think went on”, said Cindy.   “The second one wasn’t that good.  The third did its thing.”
“I can’t see it once it gets up there so far.  I guess they tell me it went past the hole and just kinda rolled right back to where it landed.”

Chris’ shot, five inches from the cup, was good enough for her to be crowned the champion of the 76th annual Republican hole in one contest.


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