COOLUM, Australia - In an unusual example of golfing synchronicity, good friends John Senden and Greg Chalmers have each had a hole-in-one at the Australian PGA — on consecutive days, from the same group and on the same hole.
The left-hander Chalmers had his ace on Thursday in the first round, watching his shot bounce three or four times to the centre left pin location on the par-3, 173-yard second hole at the Hyatt Regency resort course.
On Friday, fellow Australian Senden, in the same group and hitting to a back right pin location on the same hole, saw his shot roll further along the green before going straight in the hole.
The third — and aceless — member of the group is American Bubba Watson.
Senden also birdied the opening par-5 Friday, making him 3-under after two holes, while Australian Open champion Chalmers also birdied the first. Watson could console himself with an eagle on the first.
Senden, who had an opening 73, finished with a 64 Friday to move him up the leaderboard into a tie for fourth, four behind leader Marcus Fraser. Watson was in second after a 68, two shots behind Fraser, while Chalmers had a 69 and was seven behind.
ASHES AT AUGUSTA?: Jason Day, who shot a 69 Friday and was tied for eighth, five behind leader Marcus Fraser at the Australian PGA, said that he plans to speak to officials at Augusta National about spreading some of his father's ashes on the U.S. Masters course. Alvyn Day, who gave Jason his start in golf, died of cancer when Day was 12, and one of his final requests was that his son spread some of his ashes at Augusta if Day ever played there.
The 24-year-old Day played at the Masters for the first time this year, finishing tied for second and shooting the best round of the tournament — a 64 — in the second round. But he was not able to consider his father's request because the ashes were still at his mother Dening's home in Brisbane.
"It's a plan but obviously if I don't get clearance from Augusta, I am not going to do it," Day said. "That was one of my dad's wishes and if I was allowed to do it, that would be great. Obviously I know how the rules are at Augusta, it would be probably very unlikely, but we will see how it goes."
NOT SO ROMANTIC — Australian PGA first-round co-leader Steve Bowditch married his girlfriend of four years, television producer Amanda, on Sept. 9. How they met isn't as romantic as either of them probably would have liked — at the garbage containers in their Dallas neighbourhood.
"I had just moved into my new place and I was setting up a pingpong table out in my garage and I had a couple of the boys with me," Bowditch said. "She was walking past to the trash and I followed her to the bin and asked her out for dinner. And that was it — we met at the bin, and got married."
Bowditch has suffered in the past with severe depression and is a spokesman for "beyondblue," an Australian non-profit organization promoting awareness of depression.
"I guess I have found a little bit of calmness about me, and I am just getting older," Bowditch said of his marriage. "It's that simple."
Bowditch, who grew up 10 minutes from the Coolum course, shot 1-over 73 in a round Friday that included three birdies, a bogey and a triple bogey. He was six strokes behind leader Marcus Fraser.