Mark Forsberg called it priceless.
The Staples resident became the sixth player in nine years, and the fourth in two years, to card a hole-in-one during Sunday's Lakes Area Par 3 Championship at Grand View Lodge's The Pines.
Forsberg collected $5,000 for the tee shot on the 135-yard sixth hole of The Woods Course with a pitching wedge.
What made his fourth career ace special was the witness. Forsberg's son Nick was his playing partner in the two-person best ball tournament. It was Nick's first year playing in the tournament.
"I wasn't really expecting it," the younger Forsberg said. "It was kind of a sloppy shot. It was fun to watch. I didn't know what to say when it went in. I was blank. It was exciting."
Nick already settled his tee shot close to the hole, the group's ninth of the round. The wind blew right to left and the elder Forsberg hit the line he wanted, but "I just thought I hit a bad shot," the 45-year-old said.
Mark Forsberg (left) stood with his playing partner and son, Nick, after Sunday's Lakes Area Par 3 Championship at Grand View Lodge's The Pines. Forsberg aced the 135-yard sixth hole on the Woods course to become the tournament's sixth hole-in-one winner.
"I landed the ball on the green and it turned hard left," he added. "I was shocked. It rolled for about 15 feet. Then I didn't know what it was worth, $5,000 or $10,000. There were a lot of high fives for the next few holes."
Forsberg said his goal wasn't a hole-in-one, but for Nick and him to win the tournament. They followed the ace with a bogey before Nick came back with a birdie. Forsberg carded another birdie for the 4-under score, which tied the two with Bill and Sarah Israelson, also of Staples. After a scorecard playoff the Forsbergs finished third.
AJ Kluever and Steve Severson won the tournament with a 5-under. Steve Hinson-Paul Sandelin shot 2-under for fourth and Alissa Super-Kelly Bomier finished fifth with a 1-under.
This was the sixth year Forsberg has competed in the tournament. He and former playing partner, Brad Anderson, won it twice. The duo split this season when Nick became old enough to play.
"The first year we played together Brad and I hit the flagstick four times," said Forsberg. "We had a couple of tap-ins from a couple of inches, but we never got one. It just goes to show it's all luck."
Forsberg has been lucky three previous times. His first hole-in-one happened five years ago on his home course, The Vintage at Staples. Nick witnessed that shot, too, on the 176-yard, 11th hole. A year later Forsberg aced the same hole. His third ace came last year on the 150-yard, second hole at The Vintage.
"My wife (Joanne) was surprised," said Forsberg. "She just kind of chuckled because we actually got one. We always say we're going to go get one, but to have it happen. ... We never intend to get a hole in one. Our goal is to try and play well and win the tournament. She was excited. My daughter is getting married so there's some extra wedding cash."
This is the fifth hole-in-one The Woods course has surrounded and the sixth hole's second. Fred Boos captured the first ace on the hole in 2005.
The tournament has now dispensed $35,000 in hole-in-one prize money.
"It was one of my best days because Nick was there," the 4-handicapper said. "I told him that. He was probably as excited as I was. He was in shock."
jeremy millsop, sports writer, may be reached at email@example.com or at 855-5856.
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