Spare a thought today, if you would, for Ben DeArmond. The South Florida PGA Professional, playing the Web.com tour’s LECOM Challenge on a sponsor’s exemption, no doubt had dreams of a big week at Lakewood National Golf Club. The SFPGA section even tweeted its encouragement to DeArmond just before his tee time, including a link to the scoreboard.
But this wasn’t to be DeArmond’s day. After making bogey at the opening hole, the pro arrived at the 2nd tee, a 491-yard par 4 with water right and out of bounds left. That’s where the trouble truly began. According to the Web.com leaderboard’s play-by-play tracking, DeArmond hit his first tee shot out of play. That’s understandable; check out the visuals on this beast of a hole (the nines appear to have been flipped this week):
He re-teed, and hit that one out of play too. And again. And again. And again. And again. In all, DeArmond hit six tee balls out of play. He re-teed a final time, now hitting 13, and found the fairway. Two shots later, he was on the fringe, where he made it up-and-down (with a one-putt, technically!) for a 17.
Any golfer will tell you (this writer, who recently notched a double-digit hole in competition, certainly included) that they know the feeling of helplessness that follows a few bad swings in a row. But stroke play is unforgiving, and Florida golf is penal, and the more I look at that tee shot the more I can only imagine woods or water.
DeArmond can take solace in the fact that this doesn’t approach the highest scores in PGA Tour history. He falls shy of John Daly, who made an 18 at Bay Hill’s par-5 6th hole, and Ray Ainsley, who made a 19 at the 1938 U.S. Open (though some reports suspect it was as high as a 23). And he’s well off the pace of Tommy Armour, who made a 23 at the 1927 Shawnee Open.
At last check, DeArmond was wrapping up his front nine at 18-over 54, some 24 shots off the pace (set by none other than Mike Weir!). Here’s hoping for a better back nine.