BISMARCK, N.D. – Golfing for just the third time, 11-year-old Allan Saylor was whacking the ball around with a friend, not even keeping score. A hole-in-one? No big deal. The sixth-grader fired the ace Wednesday on the 150-yard, par-3 sixth hole at the neighboring Mandan Municipal Golf Course, using a driver borrowed from his buddy.
He said the shot felt good at contact.
"It was a pretty low shot, a pretty flat drive," he recalled. "It probably rolled about 10 feet and the rest of it was in the air. It was probably one of my farthest shots."
Allan, whose favorite hobbies have been pheasant hunting and football, said he let out a "whoop" and high-fived his friend, 11-year-old Ethan Luck, when he saw the ball disappear in the hole. But the boys didn't think much more about it.
They were milling about the clubhouse waiting for a ride home when golf pro Patrick Wingard asked about their day at the course.
A group playing a hole ahead of the boys also witnessed the ace. The talk of it had just begun to spread when Allan and his friend finished up.
"I don't think they really thought it was a big deal," Wingard said. "I asked him if he knew what he just did, and he said, 'Not really.'"
Allan was mum about his hole-in-one when he got home, and never told his mom, Karen, about it.
"I didn't even know what a hole-in-one was," she said. "We're not golf people."
Wingard said an ace hasn't been scored at the course's sixth hole in at least the three years he's been a pro there.
"There's a bunker on right and a bunker on the left, so he had to thread the needle, so to speak," Wingard said. "It's a good little par-3."
Even pros like himself find aces elusive, he said.
"I'm 46 years old and I've been playing since I was four and I've never made a hole-in-one, and I've made a lot of money playing golf," Wingard said.
Ethan said he was happy for his friend but wished it had been him.
"He used my brother's club and my old bag," Ethan said. "I play a lot and it was only his third time."
Still, he said he was in awe of his friend's feat.
"He hit it all the way to the green, it hit the fringe and rolled in," Luck said. "It was cool."
Wingard said it was impressive that the youngster was able to drive the ball to the green, even from the women's tee box.
"For one of these pint-size guys to make contact with a driver and hit it 150 yards," the golf pro said. "That's pretty good."