As kindergartner Owen Torrecilla approached the 5th hole of Pinehurst No. 3 Friday, he asked caddie Hilary McLaurin if he had ever seen anyone make a hole-in-one on the course.
His response: “No.”
That changed when 6-year-old Owen smacked the ball from the 7th tee. It soared through the air before landing and rolling into the hole.
At first, Owen didn’t realize he had just sunk his first ace.
Hilary and Owen’s mother, Tamalyn, watched as the ball disappeared.
“Did that just go in?” they asked each other.
Owen dashed from tee-to-hole to see it had.
“He took the ball out and said, ‘Yes!’” Tamalyn said. “It was pretty exciting.”
Owen was dreaming of a hole-in-one when he got to the par-3 7th hole – playing it from 72 yards.
“When I hit the ball I was thinking that it might go in if I hit it really hard,” he said.
Owen shot a 116 on Pinehurst No. 2 the following day. Architect Donald Ross calls the course “the fairest test of championship golf” he ever designed.
“It was an incredible time,” Tamalyn said. “Owen must have felt the spirit of the legends watching over him.”
Owen’s been interested in golf nearly as long as he’s been walking. Tamalyn said it started when he discovered the game on a putting green in Kapalua, Maui.
“(He) was relentless trying to get that ball in the hole until I would pick him up and put him in his car seat,” she said. “Each day when I would have to drive by the putting green to go to the store or post office, Owen would point and yell ‘Ball, ball.’”
Owen, who now lives in Durham, started hitting shots when he got his first driver at 2-and-a-half years old and has continued to work on his game.
Why does he love golf so much?
“You don’t have to worry about someone sneaking up and tackling you,” he said.
Wise words from a kindergartner.