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He owns the 11th hole at The Links

Published Oct. 12, 2005

Bob Bushwood is neither a scientist nor the trainer of exotic animals.

Bushwood is a golfer.

And since recently making two holes-in-one on the same hole _ which just happens to be located outside his backyard _ Bushwood has been taking a lot of ribbing.

"People have been asking me about my pet gopher," Bushwood said. "Or they want to know if I'm a scientist and whether I invented some magnetic device."

No, Bushwood has just developed a good swing, and that enabled him to ace the 160-yard 11th hole at The Links golf course on Aug. 24 and Sept. 8. Bushwood was playing with a foursome the first time and in a Scotch doubles tournament the second time.

"I got rid of a bad slice a couple of years ago and I've been playing pretty well since," said Bushwood, who sports a 21-handicap. "On the first one, I had just come off a bad flu and debated whether I should play the back nine. Needless to say, I'm happy I did."

Bushwood used a 3-iron in windy conditions the first time and a 5-wood the second time. He was playing with his wife Norma during the doubles event.

"We thought he had overshot the green and we were looking all around for the ball," Mrs. Bushwood said. "Then we checked the hole and there it was inside. You always hope for one hole-in-one, but when you get two in two weeks it's just amazing."

"The couple we were playing with had never seen a hole-in-one before and we all just went crazy," Bob Bushwood said. "It was a shotgun start, so we teed off at the 11th. You can't actually see the hole from the tee, and when we walked up and didn't see the ball I thought at first it was lost.

"Then I said it couldn't have happened again. But sure enough, it was in the hole."

Mrs. Bushwood was watching her husband play from their backyard when he made the first hole-in-one.

"I saw that (the shot) was going to run very close but I never thought it would go in," said Mrs. Bushwood, who did not actually see the ball go in on the undulating green.

"Then one of the men he was playing with walked up and said it was in the hole and I said, "Oh my gosh.' I was very surprised."

"I was shocked," Bushwood said, "and very excited."

Bushwood, 63, who golfs three to four times a week, was recently playing in another tournament when he nearly made his third hole-in-one at the 11th, leaving his shot 3 feet away.

"Now, every time I stand on that tee, I think, "Well, maybe,'

" Bushwood said. "People kid me that it's my hole. And it's right out my back door. I really like the view now."

College try: The NCAA Invitational women's golf tournament at Beacon Woods is Friday through Sunday. The 12-team tournament features an excellent field, including U.S. Women's Amateur champion Vicki Goetz of the University of Georgia.

The University of South Florida, Miami, Florida State, Central Florida and Florida International are among the teams.

The women will play in a "co-am" today with Beacon Woods members.

Benefit tourney: A best-ball scramble to benefit the needy takes place Oct. 17, starting at 8 a.m., at the Magnolia Valley Country Club. The cost is $35 per person and includes 18 holes of golf with a cart, a luncheon after play, and three hole-in-one contests.

Also, trophies will be awarded to the top three teams and there will be longest-drive and closest-to-the pin contests. Entry deadline is Wednesday. For more information, call Dave Neal at (813) 848-5800 or Bill Phillips at (813) 849-4625.