Lou Azevedo enjoyed quite the 61st birthday.
The general contractor from Fresno played a free round of golf and enjoyed a first-class dinner at San Joquin Country Club courtesy of his daughter, Rachel Eslick, who hooked Azevedo up with a spot in Monday’s Fresno Chamber of Commerce golf tournament.
But that wasn’t the best part.
Azevedo, playing in a group that included close friend Marty Fox, sank a $50,000 hole-in-one on the par-3, 147-yard seventh hole, one of several prizes the tournament offered for aces.
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“I knew it was a good shot, but I had no idea it would go in the hole,” Azevedo said. “I figured I’d left myself maybe a 6-, 7-footer for birdie. For it to be a hole-in-one, that’s a matter of dumb luck. But I guess I was a lucky guy today.”
The money will be paid through an insurance fund, according to Eslick, who is the vice president of government affairs for the chamber. She said the tournament also paid a $50,000 hole-in-one on the same hole two years ago by Damon Kurtz.
Azevedo used a 7-iron to make the first official hole-in-one for a self-described “28-handicap” golfer who plays once a month at best. Azevedo said he has aced the roughly 100-yard chipping green behind his home, but doesn’t count that.
There was a large bunker in front of the pin that obscured Azevedo’s vision of the ball when it landed. As he and his partner approached the hole, they saw Fox’s ball was to the right of the pin but Azevedo’s was not on the green.
After a quick check around, figuring it had rolled off the green, Fox discovered a ball in the hole. The two witnesses assigned to the hole then confirmed it was Azevedo’s ball, a Bridgestone 1 E6.
“It was unbelievable,” Azevedo said. “A once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing.”
Azevedo already has plans for the money. Azevedo and wife Lori are taking a trip this summer to Portugal, where he was born and raised before relocating to Fresno when he was 11.
It’s Eslick’s birthday gift that keeps on giving.
“I figured since the tournament fell on his birthday, what better way to celebrate it,” Eslick said. “I’m shocked and really happy for him. He’s just the nicest person and so humble. This is really cool.”