No matter how many hole-in-ones are to follow, Connor Sokolosky will never forget his first.
Playing the par-4 17th hole at Southern Hills Wednesday in an alternate shot match in the annual Maxwell Cup against teams from Prairie Dunes and Colonial, Sokolosky hit driver from 272 yards into a 8-10 mph south breeze. The ball landed a few feet from the pin on the back right portion of the green and one-hopped into the hole.
Sokolosky and his playing partners couldn’t tell where the ball had gone until they heard the group in front cheering wildly from the 18th tee.
Southern Hills historian Clyde Chrisman said it is the first hole-in-one that he knows of ever made on the 17th hole. Playing the hole as a drivable par-4 has only been in vogue the past few years since Kerry Haigh, chief championships officer of the PGA of America, used it that way in both the 2021 Senior PGA Championship and the 2022 PGA Championship.
Sokolosky, 30, who also drove the 17th green for a crucial birdie in winning the Southern Hills Club Championship earlier this summer, carries a plus one handicap and has become a very competitive golfer over the past few years after playing a lot with good friend and former University of Oklahoma and Korn Ferry Tour golfer Charlie Saxon. With the tee box forward to entice golfers into trying to drive the green, he happily obliged.
“I tried to hit a little cut shot and it did exactly what I was hoping it would do,” Sokolosky said. “We knew it was close but it just kind of disappeared. We didn’t know for sure where it had gone until the group on 18 tee started hollering. Then there were high fives all around.”
Sokolosky works for Executive Homes and takes lessons from instructor Tracy Phillips, whom he called with the good news right away. Chrisman said he thinks there has been a hole-in-one or two on other par-4s at Southern Hills but doesn’t have a specific one to point to. For Sokolosky’s partner in alternate shot, it was the easiest hole in history.
“No matter if I have others or not, I’ll always remember this one,” Sokolosky said. “It’s my first one and will probably always be my best one.”
– Ken MacLeod