On big numbers, crazy scorecards and monumental golf course collapses

We've all been there.
The 12 that fictional golf pro Roy McAvoy makes in the movie "Tin Cup" was eclipsed by five shots last week.

Ben DeArmond was probably really excited for a long time leading up to the first round of last week's Web.com Tour Lecom Suncoast Classic at Lakewood National outside Sarasota, Fla.

Then came an episode out of "Tin Cup." DeArmond made a 17 on the second hole of the tournament, depositing two full sleeves' worth of ammunition into a pond, en route to a first-round 91.

"I couldn't get it up in the air even with a 5-iron, so I'm not used to that." DeArmond told ESPN's Bob Harig, Golf Channel's Brentley Romine and others after the round. "Just went a little numb. But we got through it, had a good back nine. So I'll be back tomorrow."

The South Florida PGA member recovered somewhat with a 78 in the second round, which included a bogey on his new nemesis hole, but he ended up finishing last in the field, missing the cut by 30 strokes.

Chances are Ben will feel pretty silly about the whole thing for a while, but given his positive attitude, he seems to know he's not the first golfer to hang a crooked number on a scorecard, and he won't be the last. Anyone seriously making fun of his "out-of-body experience" has probably never played competitive golf. They can go drop their opinions in that lake along with those pristine golf balls of his.

Kevin Na, for example, is right up there in the annals of single-hole futility. Na made a 16 on the ninth hole of TPC San Antonio's AT&T Oaks Course back in 2011. That he carded an 80 for the round means he played the other 17 holes in an impressive four-under par.

So DeArmond has Na beat. But he's not the record holder in professional golf (he is the Web.com Tour record holder, however). That would be Tommy Armour, "Silver Scot" and three-time major champion. Safe to say that the 1927 Shawnee Open was one that got away, though. Armour made a 23 on the 17th hole at Shawnee Country Club during one of the rounds.

Back in the world of competitive golf away from TV cameras, ask anyone and you'll hear some kind of embarrassing blowup story. My own comes from my freshman year of high school. During an 18-hole match at the nine-hole Hotchkiss School Golf Course, I played the par-5 ninth hole in 20 strokes for the day, carding an 11 and a 9 on my two times through. The elevated tee shot with out-of-bounds on both sides psyched me out, and I pumped duck-hook after flailing duck-hook into the white-staked woods. I played the other 16 holes four-over, shooting 84. I'll never forget that feeling of helplessness. In an instant it felt like my body had been replaced with that of someone who had never swung a golf club before.

But the craziest scorecard I've ever seen comes from my esteemed Golf Advisor colleague Mike Bailey, in a qualifying round for the 2017 Houston Senior City Amateur. Mike also shot 84, but it is ten times as crazy as my 84 from high school.

Behold the majesty of Mike's crazy card:

This scorecard is art.

Bailey, who started on the 10th hole, said the hole-in-one "was the first of my life, a pitching wedge from 135. It started an eagle-birdie-birdie run. Went from an extreme high to a subdued low. Honestly, as long as I’ve been playing golf, I’ve had up and down rounds, but never anything like this. After I made the 10, I felt like I was going to have to make a couple of birdies coming in to qualify, but I had started doubting myself. Not a good combination."

"In the end," Bailey said, "I just rationalized the whole thing by realizing there was nothing I could do about it except learn from it. I probably never will, of course."

Spoken like a true golfer.

And so, brave Ben DeArmond, we stand with you in solidarity for your crooked number last week. All of us who have played competitive golf know that out-of-control feeling.

What is the highest single-hole score you've made in a competitive round? It's okay to share - you're among friends here.

Tim Gavrich is a Senior Writer for GolfPass. Follow him on Twitter @TimGavrich and on Instagram @TimGavrich.
11 Comments
Commented on

Hi there , I’m. 5 hdcp golfer playing out of Carton house , home of the Irish open on 3 occasions..... captains day 2013....1st round par 3 3rd...200 yard par 3 .... took an unholy 45 shots ...41 in the bunker...strokes event.... I think I managed to redesign the hole that day...
Birdied the next and maintained an inner chia to shoot 2 over for the remaining 17 and 42 over on the 3rd hole... we had some fun in the clubhouse after .... I officially had a handicap cut which was also funny.... foot note ,I beat 400 golfers to win the captains day tournament the following year...... Ger Breen ....gotta luv golf...

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Ger
I refereed the World Team Championship at your beautiful facility last September. I saw a lot of bogeys on the 3rd but can't recall any 45's. Can't wait to come back one day. Greenest place I ever saw. But why did the restaurant, one block away from the Guinness brewery, not have Guinness on tap?!

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Age 14 - First year playing golf off a 14 handicap at Bryanston in South Africa.
First medal round ever - Sunday AM round, playing with three adults.
12th Hole Par 4 - hook 3Wood into left woods, fat chip into stream, drop, 6 iron punch into fairway (great shot), 4 wood over green, fat chip short, chip on, 4 putt. 11 - grenade score just frees up your mind and I played 12 over the rest of the round.....now aged 45 - interesting how the memory remains....until my next grenade score surpasses this one I guess!

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I was on my way to my first ever medal and A Grade to boot. 1 under after 8 playing off 10 I tripled the 9th for an outward 38. Onto the 10th, a short par 4 and I scratched a 5 - not great but by no means awful. The 11th was a par 5, OB on the left, scrub on the right. 1st went OB, 2nd way right short of the scrub, 4th into the scub, lost, 6th into the scrub, took a drop, 8th into the scrub, found, hacked out, 2 more before I was on the green, 3 putt for a majestic 15! Finished with 91, nett 81. Bye bye medal.

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Carded an 11 at the par-3 11th in a Medal here at Erskine afew yearsago. All courtesy of a green-side bunker. Ended up playing out sideways.

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I've only played in 3 tournaments in my 7 years in the game. I sunk a hard breaking 15 footer to card a 13.

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We played on Pinehurst #2 with a group of 8 in a “tournament “. One guy got a 21 on a par 3. Those damn turtle greens where you keep chipping and it runs off the other side. He did learn to putt them even though your 4-6 feet below the putting surface.

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My craziest round was my first round back from having a spinal fusion (L4/L5/S1).... Besides putting around a bit, I hadn’t so much as looked at a club in over 2 years... Now, keep in mind that I was a -0.2 when my sticks started collecting dust... So I went out with my father not expecting much... Didn’t even go to the range... took an 11 on the first hole (par 4), 10 on the following par 5... So after being 12 after 2 holes, I knew it was gonna be a fun day... I ended up carding a stellar 58 on the front... We went in at the turn, I scarfed down a quick hotdog, then grabbed a double vodka and limanade and a 6 pack of bud light... We then ventured to #10 tee, where my father’s buddies came from no where and wanted to join us... After learning of my 58, they felt a best ball was in order... So, to cut my story down, I am now halfway through the highest (but expected) round of the past 10+ years, and now I’m drinking (heavily) and gambling... Sounds like a recipe for disaster... So, I go on to shoot a 1 under 35 on the back... My dad’s friends cussing the whole time, calling me a sandbagger, saying no way I shot 58 on the front, blah blah blah... To this day, when my wife says “you don’t play better when you’re drinking”, I always go to my framed 93 and say: “really?”

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It wasn't a competitive round b7t still remarkably. My friend and I went to a tournament but upon arrival found out we were a day late but played the course anyway. I shot a 63 on the par 36 front 9, went in for s clear at the break, and went out and shot par 36 on back 9. Strange day.

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Played in a memorial day weekend tournament in the early 90's at the White eagle club outside Chicago. Brutal cold, 30+ mph winds on a difficult course. One of my playing companions carded a 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14 in the same round. In fairness, he deliberately missed a short tap in for a second 10 late in the round to fill in the 11, but other than that all the scores were legit.

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My craziest 18 holes was in our Men's Club Tournament. Starting on hole 10, I played the back nine in 38. Well under my handicap. Unfortunately, from 18 green to 1 tee box I forgot how to play golf and shot a 59 on the front nine. Twenty-one stoke difference between my two nines. At least I broke 100.

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On big numbers, crazy scorecards and monumental golf course collapses