Amateur golfer, 59, shoots a 57 including three holes-in-one

By Matt DavisBBC Sport
Patrick's scorecard
Patrick Wills' scorecard shows hole-in-one's at the seventh, 10th and 14th

"My years in the military have left me a little hard of hearing, so when one of the guys said they heard a clank, I thought, OK, I don't believe that."

But his friend was not mistaken.

The 'clank' was a hole-in-one.

When 59-year-old American amateur golfer Patrick Wills struck his tee shot at the 187-yard par three 14th at Laurel Hill Golf Club in Virginia, USA, he had already had a pretty remarkable day.

The former marine, on his way to a round of 57 that would win him the Summer Solstice tournament, had already had holes-in-one at the par-four seventh and 10th when he hit his five-iron into the green at 14.

Patrick Wills
Patrick Wills had previously scored 22 aces

"When we got to the green I looked down and I don't even know what I felt - I was dumbfounded," said Wills, from Woodbridge, Virginia, who was playing in a fourball with his sons Charlie, 29, and Christopher 27, and air force major Matthew Ghormley.

"I don't know if I broke out in joy such was the disbelief. It was unreal. I had never experienced anything like that before."

The odds of achieving two holes-in-one in a single round are approximately 67 million to one, and the odds on three are well into the billions.

In fact Wills, who plays off a handicap of plus four and has won the tournament 20 times, statistically had more chance of winning the lottery - 14 million to one - than of achieving this feat.

Here's how the round - which also saw him achieve the feat of shooting a score lower than his age - unfolded.

After carding 68 in his first round, Wills started his second with four birdies and a bogey in his first six holes before he came to the 289-yard par-four seventh...

The seventh

Wills used a laser to measure the distance to the front of the green, got his three wood out and set himself on the tee.

Speaking to BBC Sport, he said: "I hit the shot, it came off like I thought it should and it rolled, and all of a sudden it disappeared and I couldn't see if it went in the hole or beyond and over the back of the green.

"I went up to the green and my son Charlie walked up to mark his ball and looked in the hole and said 'Dad, there's a ball in the hole,' and it was mine."

He added: "My heart jumped in a little bit of disbelief. We had a few fist pumps but I didn't want to get ahead of myself it was still early in the round."

Wills reached the turn in 29 and the 10th hole was a 334 yard par four...

Patrick's round in numbers
Three holes-in-oneShot a 14-under-par 57
One eagleTwo albatrosses
Seven birdiesOne bogey - a four on the 148-yard par three fourth

The 10th

Wills reached for his driver and instead of laying up, he decided to go for the green.

As the foursome approached the green, Wills could not see his ball so he was headed towards the back when a voice said: "What ball are you playing?"

"I thought you have to be kidding me," he said. "Why are you asking me this? But I said I was playing a Callaway and they said 'Well, there is a Callaway in the hole'.

"I was shocked, numb, in disbelief. I asked if they were goofing around but it was my ball. I was flabbergasted. Up until that point I had never experienced anything like that in my life."

Four holes later Wills lined up at the 187-yard 14th with a five iron...

The 14th

"I hit the five iron. It felt comfortable and looked like it was tracking to the pin," Wills said.

"[When it went in] the guys were flabbergasted, one was jumping, and I got a bunch of high fives. It is one of those surreal experiences - everything was moving in slow motion and I was trying to take it all in."

It was a special day to say the least. I am unpretentious person and I was overwhelmed by the whole thing and choked up."

Wills finished -14 for the round and carded a 66 external-linkin the final round - all three rounds are played on the same day - to win the tournament, with sons Charlie and Christopher in second and third.

Laurel Hill PGA director Gene Orrico, who verified the scorecard, said: "I was shocked. I have been around golf for a long time, read the stories, and to have three in one round is incredible. Patrick has been around a long time, he is an honourable man and well respected."

Becoming a habit

The odds of a low handicapper achieving a hole-in-one are approximately 5,000-1external-link, but Wills makes something of a habit of it.

Amazingly he has previously scored 22 aces in 47 years of playing. They have all come in tournament play, 18 of them on par threes and four on par fours.

He added: "I know what degree of skill it required, but certainly you have look to the man upstairs as well.

"Now when I hear professional golfers like Jordan Spieth say it hasn't sunk in yet when they win something, I can now understand what they are saying."

Patrick's scorecard in full
Patrick's scorecard in full