Livonia — There was quite a crowd gathered on the seventh tee at Whispering Willows Golf Club when Catherine Pyle stepped up to take her shots.
But she hardly seemed nervous, and for pretty good reason. After all, when she made her first and only hole-in-one in 2015 — earning her eligibility into Monday’s annual Detroit News/Golf Association of Michigan Hole In One Contest — she had a whole slew of witnesses. A wedding party and several family members were watching as the 37-year-old left-hander dunked her ace at Whittaker Woods Golf Club in New Buffalo, Mich.
“Yeah, it was pretty crazy,” Catherine Pyle said.
Pyle saved her best for last Monday, putting her fourth shot to 10 feet, 1 inch, winning the women’s division.
Pyle was joined by her mother-in-law, Katherine Pyle, 63, and her father, Ed Good, 62, at the Hole in One Contest, which drew about 275 participants on a glorious morning and afternoon in Livonia, where contestants took between two and four swings each on the scenic seventh hole.
Katherine Pyle’s hole-in-one came at Fellows Creek Golf Club in Canton in 2014, and Good’s was at Fox Hills Golf & Banquet Center in Plymouth.
Also tagging along for the day was Catherine Pyle’s young daughter, Virginia, dressed spiffily in a tutu.
Since hole-in-ones seem to run in the family, when can we expect Virginia to make her’s?
“We’re going to start her next year,” Katherine Pyle said with a smile, as Virginia played a chip and a putt away. “We’re thinking she has to be 6, and she’s not quite 5. But she gets out in the yard and hits them around a little bit.”
Typically, contestants get two balls at the Hole-In-One Contest. But this year, each was offered the opportunity to purchase one or two more, and most did — with the proceeds going to Folds of Honor, which provides scholarships for children and spouses of service members killed or wounded in battle.
Bill Wright of the GAM said it seemed like an appropriate thing to do on Sept. 11.
The additional balls helped raise several hundred dollars for Folds of Honor, which was started by Major Dan Rooney after he was a passenger on a plane that was bringing home a fallen soldier, Army Corporal Brock Bucklin of Grand Rapids. The emotion of that day in 2006, seeing Bucklin’s family meet the flag-covered casket, inspired Rooney to start the foundation.
For more information, visit foldsofhonor.org.
The eventual overall winner showed up early, and his shot held up for one golfer after another.
Jerome Glowski, age 84, hit all three of his shots on the green, with the best stopped 1 foot, 5 inches from the hole -- threatening to become the first golfer to make an ace in the contest since it first was held at Whispering Willows 11 years ago.
Glowski, of Warren, made his hole-in-one in 1996, at Cracklewood Golf Club in Macomb.
The junior category was limited, by school obligations, of course. Still, Matthew Kanaras, 15, put on quite a show, hitting three excellent shots, with a best of 14 feet, 6 inches, to win the division.
Last year, he didn’t make the green with either of his two shots. This year, he didn’t miss with any of his four.
John Finch, 56, was scheduled for a morning-group tee time, but he didn’t arrive until early afternoon. He had a good excuse for tardiness. He was in a car accident, having been sideswiped, on his way to the golf course.
Contestants ranged in age from 11 to early 90s. One of the elder statesmen was Anthony Fionda, 83, who carded his hole-in-one in 1955, three years before Arnold Palmer won his first major championship. Fionda’s ace came at Sylvan Glen Golf Course in Troy.
Carol Rudder, 58, won the senior women’s division, knocking it to 6 feet flat.
“I didn’t realize till I got up there,” said Rudder, “that I forgot to put my golf shoes on.”
Overall: Jerome Glowski, 1-foot-5
Men: Jack MacIntosh, 5-2
Senior men (55+): James Salley, 1-8
Super senior men (80+): Bob Bristow, 11-6
Women: Catherine Pyle, 10-1
Senior women (55+): Carol Rudder, 6-0
Junior: Matthew Kanaras, 14-6