Tony McDaniel doesn't pride himself on being an exceptional golfer.
"I'm a recreational golfer, at best," he said.
But his lack of playing experience didn't surface during the Public Safety Christmas for Kids Golf Tournament at Payson Golf Course.
On the 142-yard No. 5, McDaniel used a seven iron to swat his first hole-in-one.
McDaniel said he saw the ball sailing through the air towards the hole, but never thought he would card an ace until the ball actually rolled into the hole.
McDaniel, an ardent University of Arizona Wildcat fan, also used the ace as an opportunity to knife another of his digs on this scribe, an Arizona State University alum.
When I asked what was the key to the hole-in-one, he replied, "I just had to ‘Bear Down,'" referring to the Wildcats' nauseating motto.
At that point, I wanted to barf.
Calling all golfers
Rim Country golfers have two upcoming opportunities to showcase their skills.
The Beautiful Schools Golf Tournament will be held Sept. 23 and the Payson Gateway Project will host a fray Sept. 30. Both will be at Payson Golf Course.
The Beautiful Schools event tees off at 9 a.m. with a shotgun start and a four-person best ball format. It is limited to 28 teams and tee times are on a first-come, first-served basis.
The entry fee is $70 per person and includes green fees and cart, a light breakfast and lunch served by Macky's Grill.
Prizes will be awarded for longest drive and closest to the pin for men and women.
There will also be a $10,000 prize for a hole in one on a pre-selected hole. Raffle prizes and will be awarded and mulligan available for sale.
All proceeds benefit the Payson Unified School District Beautification Project. Entry forms are available at the Payson Roundup located at 708 N. Beeline Highway.
For more information, call Dan Dillion at (928) 472-8208 or Russ Youngcourt (928) 472-8208.
The Payson Gateway Project tees off at 9 a.m. Entry forms are available at the Payson Golf Course clubhouse, Beeline Cafe and the Beverage House.
Proceeds will be used to fund landscaping of the Beeline roundabout.
Call Nancy Cox at (928) 472-1172 for more information.
Punt Pass and Kick today
Gridiron hopefuls will have the chance to showcase their skills today, Friday, at the Punt, Pass and Kick competition.
The event kicks off at 5 p.m. on the Payson High School baseball field.
There is no fee, but participants must have a valid birth certificate to enter.
Winners from the Payson competition earn the right to enter the sectional championships, which were held last year in Mesa.
The sectional and follow-up competitions are conducted under the same rules as the local events.
Each participant is allowed one punt, pass and place kick, which will be measured for distance and accuracy. For example, if a youngster passes the ball 100 feet, but it flies 30 feet to the right or left of the measuring tape, the score would be 100 minus 30. Following the competition, each competitor's total for the three events is tallied. The players with the highest point totals will be crowned sectional champions.
The top-five point producers from sectional competitions held around the state advance to the Arizona Cardinals team championships in Glendale Stadium in December.
The first four boys and girls in the team championships advance to the national finals. Several former and current NFL players have participated in the Punt, Pass and Kick competitions as children, including record-setting quarterbacks Dan Marino and Drew Bledsoe.
For more information, call Mary McMullen at (928) 474-5242, ext. 358.