Pro Makes 17 On Par-4 In Event

It’s often been said that recreational and tournament golf are so different from one another that they may as well be two different sports. 

On Thursday at the Tour’s Lecom Suncoast Classic, rookie Ben DeArmond personified that adage after he played his first three holes in 15-over par.

Competing on a sponsor’s exemption in his first Tour start, DeArmond, a PGA Professional in Naples, bogeyed the first hole of the day after finding a fairway bunker off the tee, but second hole at Lakewood National Golf Club, a 491-yard par-4, proved to be his undoing.

DeArmond found the water that guards the right side of the hole off the tee. After dropping in the rough, he sunk two more balls in the hazard before returning to the teeing ground where he again found the hazard. He attempted to play from the rough two more times in unsuccessful attempts to clear the water before he found dry land with his 13th shot.

DeArmond moved the ball up the fairway twice before reaching the greenside fringe, where he knocked it close to finish with a 17 on the hole.

“My own dad called me Roy a couple of holes later, so he referenced Roy McAvoy (from the movie Tin Cup). I couldn’t get (the ball) up in the air even with a 5-iron, so I’m not used to that, just went a little numb,” DeArmond said after the round, according to “I’ve never made a 17 in my life, not even when I started playing golf. After that it was fine, just had to feel my arms a little bit.

“It was just nerves. I had a great range session, felt good going in, and it was just an out-of-body experience on that hole.”

To his credit, DeArmond didn’t throw in the towel. He made three more bogeys on the front nine to card an 18-over par 54, but his back nine featured eight pars and one bogey, adding up to a 19-over par 91. 

“If you learn anything from me today, it’s don’t withdraw, don’t give up, have fun with it,” DeArmond told USA Today. “It’s a game. Everybody has a bad day, a bad hole – even the worst hole of your life. So you have to move on.

“I’ll be back tomorrow.”