Bensel aces 2 straight holes at U.S. Senior Open (2024)

  • Associated Press

Jun 28, 2024, 10:01 AM ET

NEWPORT, R.I. -- The next round in Newport is on Frank Bensel - and make it a double.

The 56-year-old club pro from New York made back-to-back holes-in-one at the U.S. Senior Open on Friday - a first in the 1,001-tournament history of the USGA and believed to be the only time it's happened on any major golf tour.

"It was like an out-of-body experience," Bensel said before posing for pictures with the ball, 6-iron and pin flags from the fourth and fifth holes at Newport Country Club.

"I've played a lot of golf in my life, and just to see a hole-in-one in a tournament is pretty rare," he said. "The first one was great; that got me under par for the day. And then the second one, I just couldn't believe it. To even think that that could happen was amazing."

It was just the second time a golfer has made two holes-in-one in the same round in any USGA event since the inaugural U.S. Amateur was held in Newport in 1895. Donald Bliss aced the eighth and 10th holes in the 1987 U.S. Mid-Amateur at Brook Hollow in Dallas; because he started on the back nine, Bliss made a hole-in-one on his first and his 17th holes of the day.

According to the National Hole-in-One Registry, the odds for one player making two aces in the same round are 67 million to 1. The odds of aces on consecutive holes aren't known, but few courses have consecutive par-3s like the 7,024-yard, par-70 A.W. Tillinghast course on the mouth of Narragansett Bay.

They were Bensel's 13th and 14th holes-in-one in a career that includes appearances in three PGA Championships and the 2007 U.S. Open; he has never made a cut on the PGA Tour. He said his career highlight was shooting a 67 at Southern Hills at the 2021 Senior PGA Championship.

Or at least it used to be.

"After these two holes-in-one, I just didn't even know," said Bensel, who teaches at Century Golf Club in Westchester County in the summer and Mirasol in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, in the winter. "Oh, yeah. Everybody is going to want a lesson now, for sure - on a 6-iron."

Playing with his 14-year-old son, Hagen, as caddie, Bensel was 4 over after the first round and made a bogey on the second hole on Friday. When he got to No. 4, a 173-yard par 3, his son recommended a 7-iron but Bensel knew he didn't want to leave it short.

The ball landed on the front of the green, hopped a few times and rolled into the cup. On the fifth tee, Bensel pulled out his 6-iron again and took aim at the pin 202 yards away.

"I tried to calm him down. Just bring him back, you know?" said Hagen Bensel, who was named after Hall of Famer Walter Hagen. "He landed it perfectly. And he was like, 'How 'bout another one?' while it was going down."

Frank Bensel followed up his consecutive aces with four bogeys in a row before making the turn and adding three more on the back nine. He finished the day at 4-over 74 and missed the cut with a two-day total of 9-over 149.

"I didn't do anything great except for kind of those shots today," Bensel said. "I was hoping that I could have added a lot more good scoring after that to have made the cut, but that didn't happen."

Still, his club, ball and glove are headed for the USGA's museums in Liberty Corner, New Jersey, and Pinehurst, North Carolina. So Hagen Bensel will soon have a chance to see the artifacts - and learn more about his namesake.

"I don't know much (about Walter Hagen)," he said. "I don't pay attention to my parents that much, as much as I should. But I know that he was a great golfer, one of the best to ever do it."

Asked what was next for him, Frank Bensel said: "The original plan was to get some sleep and get ready for tomorrow, but won't need to do that.

"We're going to have a good time and kind of lay back," he said, nodding toward his son. "He wants to play golf somewhere. Anybody know where he can go play?"

Bensel aces 2 straight holes at U.S. Senior Open (2024)


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