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10-year-old golfer bags hole-in-one

In only the second round of 18 holes in his life, a Hudson boy shoots a hole-in-one.

By MATTHEW WAITE, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published July 3, 2002


photo
[Times photo: Joseph Garnett Jr.]
Jordan Padova, 10, is all grins over his 9-iron after he used it to hit a hole-in-one June 10 at the Meadow Oaks Golf Club. "It felt like a good shot," Jordan said. The ball flew 95 yards into the cup.
HUDSON -- Jordan Padova really hadn't played that much golf in his life, being 10 years old and all.

And the second round of 18 holes he'd ever played hadn't been going so great when he stepped into the tee box of Meadow Oaks Golf Course's sixth hole on June 10.

No. 6, a par 3, was about only 95 yards long that day because the greens were being worked on. Jordan knew he usually hits his 9 iron about that long, so he pulled it out of the bag.

While drawing the club back, Jordan just wanted to hit the ball straight. Nothing fancy, just down the fairway toward the green.

"It felt nice and smooth," he said of the swing. "It felt like a good shot."

Jordan, his father Andy Padova, mom Chris, brother Austin, grandmother Sophie and a few others watched as Jordan's shot arched high in the air, came down straight at the pin, rattled against it and disappeared.

Hole-in-one.

Golfers typically go their whole lives and never hit a hole-in-one. Jordan is the second in his family to hit one -- Andy Padova shot an ace 15 years ago in a tournament.

Jordan knows he's "pretty lucky" to have hit one that went from the face of his club to the bottom of the cup without touching the ground. Especially for a kid who hasn't played much golf.

Jordan started learning how to play at 6; when he was 7, he played in his first junior tournament, where kids play nine holes. But lately, his father said, he'd taken an interest in other sports, like dirt bicycle racing and soccer.

Andy and Chris Padova own the Meadow Oaks course and live nearby. Andy Padova said Jordan and Austin had decided they wanted to play more golf this summer now that school is out.

But his son's hole-in-one hasn't created visions of Tiger Woods, $40-million endorsement deals and maybe a little early retirement for mom and dad, Andy Padova said.

"It would be nice if it happened, but I won't hold my breath," he said.

Jordan, who turns 11 this week, said that because of the ace, he'll be playing more golf this summer. His name is now on the Hole-In-One plaque at the course clubhouse.

Jordan said some of the golfers around the club have been giving him a little guff about his feat, and asking when he'll adhere to an old golf tradition.

"They go, 'When are you going to buy me a beer?"' Jordan said.

-- Matthew Waite can be reached in west Pasco at 869-6247 or (800) 333-7505, ext. 6247. His e-mail address is waite@sptimes.com.

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