Sports

Fresno Athletic Hall of Famer Menchinella goes birdie, eagle, ace at Airways

Steve Menchinella’s recent scorecard from a round at Airways Golf Course in which he went 5 under during a three-hole stretch.
Steve Menchinella’s recent scorecard from a round at Airways Golf Course in which he went 5 under during a three-hole stretch.

It’s hard to imagine anything in golf that Steve Menchinella hasn’t done.

Then came the 75-year-old’s round last week at Airways Golf Course.

Menchinella, a Fresno Athletic Hall of Famer who’s been called the Godfather of Northern California golf, scored a birdie on No. 5, then an eagle on No. 6 before capping the three-hole stretch with a hole-in-one at No. 7.

“It was by far the neatest thing I’ve seen on the course,” said Kings Country Club pro Tom James, who was part of Menchinella’s foursome and witnessed the event. “I think you’d have better odds at winning the Powerball.”

Menchinella, golf director emeritus at Sunnyside Country Club, was playing a casual round Feb. 16 with James, Sunnyside Country Club pro Steve Pellegrine and Kings Country Club director of golf Paul Wightman.

Menchinella’s club of choice for his golfing magic to convert the eagle and ace: a 9-iron.

On the 321-yard, par-4 No. 6, Menchinella’s tee shot went about 200 yards and to the right.

Then he turned to his 9-iron to sink a shot from roughly 121 yards.

“I can’t see that far, but it seemed like it just disappeared,” Menchinella said. “We went up, saw it went in and we were all laughing and high-fived each other.”

The celebration was just beginning.

On the 115-yard, par-3 No. 7, Menchinella teed off with the same club.

The ball sailed high then dropped straight in the cup.

Menchinella and his group erupted in cheers and chest bumps.

“We were just playing and joking around,” Menchinella said. “I’m aiming for the pin, but I’m not trying to get an eagle or a hole-in-one.

“When the shots are falling like that, they’re all just luck. But it was a good time.”

Menchinella said he’s made 11 aces in his life, including two since turning 75.

Menchinella finished the day shooting 2-under-par 67.

“It’s always fun to shoot your age or way under your age,” Menchinella said. “Then to go 5 under in three holes, that was amazing.

“It makes me laugh.”

Bryant-Jon Anteola: (559) 441-6362, @Banteola_TheBee

  Comments