He jarred it on the 181-yard par three, while leading his match 1-up before the hole.
“It was neat, my wife and kids were watching,” said Spence, who found out at the same time as wife Amy, and sons Vincent, 10, and Connor, 4. “This is my third hole-in-one, but to do it in competition and to do it with them watching was pretty surreal.”
He also made aces on the course in 2011 on the 10th hole and in 2008 on the 15th hole.
Spence didn’t see the 2020 ace go in the hole, but admired it from the tee box.
“It was a 181-yard shot and it was a back pin and it was just a perfect 6-iron with a little draw,” said Spence, who originally planned to hit a 5-iron, but was concerned he might go past the pin, situated about four yards from the back of the green.
Spence, who didn’t have a caddy, walked up the hill with Edwards and his caddy and there was a positive vibe coming from the trio.
“We all just had one of those moments where you knew it had a chance,” Spence said. “I kind of went and looked in the hole and there it was.”
When asked if he’s ever won a flight championship, he responded," I didn’t think so, but somebody told me I beat them in a flight championship like 10 or 12 years ago."
He gave up competitive golf in 2013 and took up mountain bike racing.
“When I was playing a lot, it was always my goal to try and qualify for the championship play, but now that I’m playing less and I’m a little more of a hack, I have to be somewhat competitive in my own flight,” he said.
In 2018, he began that quest with the help of his oldest son.
“Business had gotten pretty busy, so I wasn’t out mountain bike racing and I just needed some competitive outlet and my son was eight and he started showing a little interest in the game and we just started playing and I fell right back into it,” Spence said. “We played in the father-son tournament this year. It’s one of those cool traditions. I grew up playing in that tournament with my dad (Vincent) so it’s really cool to play in with Vincent now.”
Like father, like son
Andrew Sovero’s journey to join his father as a club champion also took a detour — through the pool.
He graduated from McDonogh High in 2012 after becoming a Junior National Champion in the 100 breaststroke in 2011 and leaving the school as the 100 breaststroke state record holder and school record holder for the 200 medley.
In high school, he was also a three-time state champion in golf, but he went to the University of Arizona to swim.
At Arizona, he earned Pac-12 All-Academic honorable mention honors his final three years and graduated in 2016.
After only playing golf a handful of times from 2013 to 2018, he committed to the sport again and that year reached the club championship final by defeating his father in the semifinals.
“I beat him on 17 and that was a special moment, but also a salty moment,” said Sovero, who lost to Grady in the final in 2018.
This year, Sovero didn’t make it to 17 in the final because he closed out Grady on the par 3 16th hole.
Leading by three, Sovero left his tee shot about 15-feet from the hole and pin high on the green, while Grady was in the bunker in two.
“I was three up with three to go, so I kind of figured a 2-putt was good enough for the win and it was, but it was just one of those things that I got so hot with my putter on the back nine that it was just going in,” said Sovero, who birdied 16 in both rounds. “I birdied those both rounds and that was probably a major, critical moment for me in the whole day.”
It was the fifth birdie in eight holes. He also birdied 9, 11, 12, 14 and 16 and finished with 13 birdies.
Despite the birdies, he had some anxious moments and his dad felt every one, while watching the action helplessly.
“It’s definitely a different experience for sure, it’s much easier playing,” Rick Sovero said.
“I can tell you I was nervous too. It was tough, a long day,” his son said.
Those nerves were shared by both Soveros on the par four 13th when Sovero’s drive went into the trees.
“He’s standing where I could see him and I just watched his reaction to see if I was going to be in a good spot or a bad spot and his arms went up in the air and he laid his head back and I was like ‘Aw, that can’t be good.’” Sovero recalled.
Both competitors missed the green in regulation, but Grady saved par with 12-footer and Sovero halved the hole with an 8-footer.
“I was three up at that time, so I think we both talked afterwards and we kind of agreed that if I had missed that par putt on 13, it becomes a lot more interesting,” Sovero said. “It was a tough day, but a lot of fun.”
Champions on Labor Day
Men’s Championship Flight: Andrew Sovero def. Kevin Grady, 4 & 2