Hole-in-1 Sparks Top 10 Finish for Cardwell

Sept. 20, 2012

Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Kristi Cardwell began playing golf at age four and has played thousands of rounds in her life. On Monday during the opening round of the Dick McGuire Invitational in Albuquerque, N.M., Cardwell accomplished something she had never done before on a golf course; record a hole-in-one.

Cardwell, a senior on the University of Iowa women’s golf team, used a seven iron to ace the par-3, 137-yard eighth hole during the first round of competition. The Kokomo, Ind., native knew she hit a good shot, but wasn’t able to see the ball roll in the cup. The eighth hole at The Championship Golf Course at the University of New Mexico has an elevated green, so Cardwell had to rely on others to give her the good news. The first people to see the ball roll in? Her parents.

“My parents came out to the tournament to watch and were up by the green,” Cardwell said. “They told me it hit about eight feet short and it just rolled in. It was pretty exciting.”

Cardwell played a solid first round at the Dick McGuire Invitational, but had bogeyed the hole prior to the par-3 eighth. She regained her composure on the tee box, dropping in the ace. Cardwell also re-focused after accomplishing one of the rarest feats in sport, as she birdied the following hole to close her round at one-under par.

“Getting a hole-in-one takes a lot of luck. I put a really good swing on that shot, but for it to hit in the right spot, break the right way and fall in is pretty lucky. I was happy with my swing and it happened to go in.”
UI senior Kristi Cardwell

“I was upset after making bogey, but I knew I had good finishing holes coming up,” Cardwell said. “After the hole-in-one, I was really, really happy. That really helped out the scorecard and I told myself to finish strong. I was able to reach the next par-5 in two with my 3-wood and I just missed an eagle, but finishing with that birdie was nice.”

It takes a certain amount of skill to even get a chance to become a member of the hole-in-one club, but Cardwell admits the luck of the bounce goes a long way.

“Getting a hole-in-one takes a lot of luck,” Cardwell said. “I put a really good swing on that shot, but for it to hit in the right spot, break the right way and fall in is pretty lucky. I was happy with my swing and it happened to go in.”

Even though recording a hole-in-one is something Cardwell will remember the rest of her life, she was happier about the way she played over three rounds of competition at the Dick McGuire Invitational. She tallied a top-10 finish, tying for eighth with a 54-hole total of 220 (+1). After firing an opening round 72 (-1), Cardwell carded back-to-back 74’s (+1). She knocked in 38 pars over the 54 holes and also dropped in five birdies. Cardwell only had seven holes above par in the tournament.

“I came to the tournament with a real positive attitude,” Cardwell said. “I wanted to play for par and hit fairways and greens. I took it hole-by-hole and I had a good finish against a tough field. I’m very happy with the three rounds I was able to put together.”

The Hawkeyes have a week off before returning to action at the Johnnie Ihmes Invitational in Columbia, Mo., Oct. 1. Cardwell will use the momentum from her hole-in-one, along with her steady play, preparing for her next outing.

“We are still going to play a lot of golf on our off week,” Cardwell said. “The entire tournament just gave me a lot of confidence. It feels pretty amazing right now.”