Mark Kunnen.

On Sunday, June 4, Mark Kunnen gave hope to hackers around the world. A bonafide 11 handicapper at the Preserve, Mark shot an almost statistically impossible 71. I can attest that after playing many rounds with Mark, he earned his 11 handicap honestly with many rounds in the eighties and even low nineties interspersed, with a rare score breaking 80. On this day, however, the planets aligned, the gods smiled and lightning must have struck somewhere in the same place twice.

The round started with a bang on the tenth hole. Mark played it like a pro, reaching the green in regulation and sinking his putt for birdie. A bogey on eleven, and a par of twelve gave no indication of what was to become—because on the difficult thirteenth hole he chipped in for eagle! After his second bogey on the day at fourteen and a par at fifteen, more fireworks were in store. Kunnen hit a fine tee shot on the sixteenth hole and an even better second shot that stopped just a few feet short of the green. He used his putter to record his second eagle in four holes, and he followed that with a long birdie putt on seventeen! Probably gasping for air at this point, he made a bogey on eighteen to finish with 33 on the back nine.

At this point I was just a spectator. Mark was just one over par for the first four holes on the front nine. His first real hiccup came on the fifth hole. A double bogey six ensued. Now, I began to worry about a major collapse in the offing, but Mark turned it around with three pars and a one-putt birdie on his closing hole for a 38 on the front side and 71 total.

That 71 was his best round ever and he shot his age with years to spare. His game was a thing of beauty that day and he won $5. Unfortunately for him, though, the golf gods and the United States Golf Association got their pound of flesh as he woke up the next day with a handicap of seven, four strokes less than the day before. Good luck to his future partners for the next few months!

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