Chiarella pulls off ‘one’ unique feat

Last weekend, 25-year-old Alex Chiarella captured his first victory on the Canadian Professional Golf Tour at the Lethbridge Paradise Canyon Open.

The feat was understandably exciting for the young Chiarella, but not especially noteworthy in the world of golf — except for one unusual tidbit of information the golfer shared after his win.

Chiarella used exactly one golf ball during the entire 72-hole, four-day tournament.

Professional golfers typically have access to an endless supply of golf balls and other equipment. In fact, the average PGA Tour golfer uses six golf balls per round, or 24 over the course of 72 holes.

The Hawaiian-born Chiarella, bucked that trend, however, by breaking out a brand-new Titleist on the first hole of his opening round. He used the same ball again on day two to finish in contention at 11-under par after two rounds.

Before Saturday’s round, he talked to a good friend attending the event.

“I looked at my buddy who I was staying with and said, ‘Man, I have some good mojo with this ball. Would it be weird to keep this going on the weekend?'” Chiarella told the PGA Tour.

Despite a few scuffs the ball had suffered, his friend encouraged Chiarella to continue his one-ball strategy, and he was ultimately able to keep the ball in play both Saturday and Sunday, shooting a final round 68 to win by a shot.

I’ll admit, I’ve been able to use the same golf ball for 18 holes, sometimes even a bit more. However, the reason I eventually switch isn’t because the balls become scuffed up. Like most golfers, it’s because I’ve hit it in the water or out of bounds.

Standing Stone

I was able to talk with Standing Stone’s Matt Willinsky earlier this week, and he was excited to share news about the Huntingdon club’s recent change in ownership.

According to Willinsky, area native David Clark is in the final process of reclaiming the course that was built by his father — on the family’s farm property — nearly a half-century ago.

Willinsky, who serves as the club’s head pro and general manager, said the new owner has already made significant investment in equipment and other course upgrades. His efforts have resulted in the best playing conditions Standing Stone has seen in years.

The club announced recently that it will not be holding its annual mid-July two-ball tournament this year as it concentrates on course improvements. The tournament is scheduled to return next year. I’ve had the pleasure to play in this event several times and have thoroughly enjoyed it every time.

The past several years have been filled with tales of Standing Stone’s demise. It’s nice to hear that a new owner has taken charge of the club — and that prospects are looking up.

British Open

The year’s last major, the British Open, will be played in just a few weeks.

It’s golf’s oldest major championship, and some of the tournament’s earliest history might seem strange to golf fans today. The winner of the first Open Championship did not receive a trophy. The 1860 champion, Willie Park Sr, was actually awarded something called the Challenge Belt, a large, red leather belt with ornate buckles and emblems.

An agreement was established that any golfer winning three consecutive years would permanently take ownership of the belt. The feat was eventually accomplished by Young Tom Morris, who won the tournament from 1868-70.

A funny thing happened after that: No tournament was held in 1871 since there was no trophy to play for.

By 1872, clubs in Scotland combined to purchase a new trophy, the now familiar Claret Jug. Since then, each winner has been allowed to keep possession of the trophy for an entire year, before returning it prior to the next championship — a tradition that continues to this day.

Ken Love covers local golf for the Mirror. He can be reached at gltr777@atlanticbb.net.