Blue Demons Hit Hole-in-One at Back-to-Back Tournaments
Sept. 27, 2012
CHICAGO – Adrian Halimi doesn’t use his 8-iron very often, so it was a bit unusual that the DePaul freshman golfer pulled it from his bag Sept. 18 during the Ram Masters Invitational in Fort Collins, Colo.
Flashback: Seven years ago in his native Indonesia, a talented 11-year-old golfer had used an 8-iron for a hole-in-one.
“Normally, I don’t use an 8-iron,” Halimi said. “But the green at the Fort Collins Country Club was sloping, so I wanted to put it in front of the hole.
“I had a good swing with a small fade. It was the shot I wanted to hit, and I was expecting it to end up close to the hole. It landed 10 feet in front of the hole and began rolling up the green.
“I was shocked when it went in, and didn’t have anything to say. I put my hands up in the air. (Graduate assistant coach) Dylan Gergen gave me a high-five and Russell Budd got excited watching from the next tee box.”
That was just the beginning.
Exactly six days later, Blue Demon teammate Moritz Ackerhans duplicated Halimi’s rare feat in the Windon Memorial Classic at the 193-yard fifth hole of the Skokie Country Club.
“I saw Moritz’s hole-in-one, and it was an outstanding shot,” said DePaul golf coach Betty Kaufmann. “It landed about six feet from the cup and was running towards the pin. All of a sudden, it disappeared.
“This is the first time in my 15-year career at DePaul that we’ve had aces in back-to-back weeks. The only other hole-in-one I’ve had was Russell Budd’s last year. (Sept. 26, 2011 on the 161-yard eighth hole at the Cardinal Collegiate in Simpsonville, Ky.)”
Ackerhans’ one-timer was the high point of an up-and-down round of golf.
“It was the first hole-in-one in my life, and I’ve been waiting for a long time,” Ackerhans said. “You can’t go up there trying for a hole-in-one, and it happens when you least expect it.
“That whole day had been frustrating for me because I wasn’t making any putts. Dylan Gergen tried to encourage me by saying I was going to shoot a birdie on that hole.
“I told him: ‘I’ll have to put it a foot away to make the putt.’”
Nothing helps a struggling golfer like a no-putt green.
“I used a 6-iron and tried to hit it just short of the pin,” Ackerhans said. “When I saw it land, I knew it was going to be close. It was like slow-motion in my mind. I saw the ball rolling towards the hole and all of a sudden, it disappeared.
“I was a little confused at first. What happened? I figured it out a second or two later. All I could think was---what a crazy game. It took away some pressure because I didn’t want to end my career without a hole-in-one.”
During Ackerhans’ roller-coaster round of 79, he followed the hole-in-one with a double-bogey and then notched a birdie right after that.
“That whole tournament had been up and down for me,” Ackerhans said. “I couldn’t figure out the greens---they were so firm and fast.
“You just have to find a way to stay in your game and not lose it. You have to accept that stuff like that is going to happen.”
Halimi’s hole-in-one totally turned around his game that day.
“It helped me bounce back in that round,” Halimi said. “I had started out at hole No. 10 and shot five-over for nine holes. I was two-under for the final nine holes and finished with a 73---my best round of the tournament.
“When I got to the tee box at the first hole, Russell told me to just enjoy the game. I was worrying too much. He said some good stuff that made me smile. After that talk on the first tee, I hit the hole-in-one on the second tee (par-3, 156 yards).”
During a seven-week trip to the United States in the summer of 2011, Halimi played in five tournaments, attended two golf camps and met Kaufmann during an unofficial visit. Halimi has played in five tournaments with the Indonesian Junior National Team, finishing third at a tournament in Hong Kong.
“My parents always believed that academics are so important, and DePaul’s golf team has the nation’s highest team GPA three years in a row,” Halimi said. “My parents and I felt comfortable with the choice, and I made an oral commitment in October of 2011. It helps that I have a cousin living in Elgin.”
Halimi believes the turning point in his career came at the age of 13 when he was one of 12 youth golfers in his country offered a scholarship to the Commonwealth Bank Institute of Golf where he received special coaching and developed his game.
And now he has started making DePaul the place for an ace.
“What Moritz and I did was just something unbelievable,” Halimi said. “Two guys from the same team getting a hole-in-one two tournaments in a row. It’s like one-in-a-million.
“Now, can someone do it again at our next tournament---the John Dallio Memorial next week? John Pavelko thinks he is going to get the next hole-in-one.”