Don Potter’s Magical 18th on Pinehurst No. 2

Don Potter stands with the flag from the 18th green on Pinehurst No. 2 after making eagle.

Don Potter stood in the middle of Pinehurst No. 2’s 18th fairway, 155 yards from the green. In the distance, he could see the iconic Payne Stewart statue. No one has played the 18th better in a bigger spot than Payne Stewart.

But Don Potter tried.

A heady wind facing him, Potter made his wisest decision of the day. “I listened to my caddie,” he said.

Just 155 away, Potter’s caddie told him to play it 170. Potter took the advice, pulled a 5 iron and set up for a punch shot as his approach.

Potter rifled the shot on a line Payne has seen few times in his time adjacent to the finishing green of one of the world’s most demanding courses. Potter knew it looked good.

Then he heard the roars.

Potter came to Pinehurst with his group S.T.A.G. – The Royal Society of Soon-to-Be-Ancient Golfers. Most of his group had finished its round, and awaiting the final pairings to come up the 18th, the group was watching the action from the Resort Club’s back veranda. They are the ones who saw Potter’s ball roll straight into the cup for an eagle 2.

“I only heard it,” said Potter, who hails from Chicago. “It was downright fantastic.”

Potter was given the flag from the pin as a keepsake for his eagle. It was a great cap to a trip in which S.T.A.G. donated $7,000 to the Carolinas Golf Association to promote junior golf.

Oh, and one more thing: On the tee, Potter needed eagle to break 80.

He got it.