Birchell records Juneau's 1st ace of season

48-year-old hits hole-in-one at Mendenhall Golf Course

Posted: Monday, June 18, 2007

Winning $26 is pretty sweet.

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Winning $26 by making a hole-in-one on Father's Day is a memory for a lifetime.

Ed Birchell, 48, aced the par-3 fifth hole Sunday morning at Mendenhall Golf Course. Koggie File of Mendenhall Golf Course said it was the first hole-in-one of the season since they opened in May.

"You know what, the money is nothing," Birchell said. "I've played golf for a long time and had a lot of 1-foot tappers on par 3s. It was special, especially on Father's Day."

It was Birchell's first-ever ace.

The memorable swing took place during the Sunday morning Best Ball Scramble tournament at Mendenhall Golf Course. The 125-yard fifth hole was the "money hole" of the tournament, Birchell said. All 26 players kicked in a buck for a closest-to-the-pin contest on the fifth, with the winner reaping the whopping $26 jackpot.

Needless to say, Birchell's ace won the contest.

"I hit a nine iron because I don't have a pitching wedge," Birchell said. "I hit the ball and I didn't know if it dropped. We watched the guys on the tee box on (hole) six, and they were jumping and yelling."

Birchell, a Juneau-Douglas High School graduate who recently moved back to town after living in Petersburg, said he called his brother, Curt, in Wrangell after the shot.

"My brother was in Wrangell playing golf today," Birchell said. "I called him up and said I just got a hole in one, and he said, 'No way.' ... In Petersburg, we used to run to Wrangell and play."

He said his father taught him how to play golf. He also goes to Palm Springs, Calif., in November and also played in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

He said he's going to buy a plaque to commemorate his hole in one.

"I was going to tee it off on the next hole and it was a water hole and they (his playing partners) were like, 'You're not going to hit that ball, are you?'" Birchell said. "I put it back in my bag and I'll put it on my trophy."

• Tim Nichols, sports editor, can be reached at sports@juneauempire.com.



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