It typically takes time for freshmen to make an impact on their respective teams and even longer to make program history. USC Upstate women’s golfer Allea Hawkins wasted no time in making her mark on the Spartan program, recording two holes-in-one in back-to-back tournaments to start her career.
Hawkins, from Hendersonville, N.C., made her first hole-in-one in the second round of the Eat-A-Peach Classic played on the Pine Lakes Golf Course at the Jekyll Island Golf Resort on Sept. 7. It came on the par-3 6th hole, which played at 165 yards, and she used a hybrid. Her second came just two rounds and two days later in the first round of the Terrier Intercollegiate played at the Country Club of Spartanburg on Sept. 9. Rare is it that teams will play in back-to-back tournaments with one tournament ending one day and the second starting the very next day. Rarer still is the fete that Hawkins accomplished.
Hawkins stepped to the tee box on the par-3 6th hole, yes, the par-3 6th just as she did at Pine Lakes. Standings 170 yards from the hole, she struck another perfect hybrid that hit the green and rolled into the cup for her second ace. Another coincidence, the Spartans wore the exact same uniform Monday that they wore last Saturday when Hawkins hit her first hole-in-one.
“Both shots were high cut shots into the hole,” said Hawkins. “I didn’t even see the first one. I thought it was behind the hole but one of the people I was playing with got excited and told me it went in. I thought it was in the shadow of the flagstick. I looked in my range finder and it was in the hole. Today, I was going crazy. I saw it go in.”
Monday’s hole-in-one was even more special because Hawkins’ mom, Stacey, was standing right above the green and watched it all unfold…on her birthday no less. Mrs. Hawkins was unable to go to Jekyll Island for the first tournament, but made the short trip down to Spartanburg from Hendersonville for the Terrier Intercollegiate.
“It’s my mom’s birthday today and she got to see the hole-in-one,” said Hawkins. “We are so close, very close, and haven’t seen each other in almost two weeks. She got a new car today and will get it when she gets back home and she got to see her daughter hit a hole-in-one. Happy Birthday!”
Prior to hitting her two aces as a member of the Upstate women’s golf team, Hawkins had one hole-in-one in her lifetime, but that came playing for fun and not in tournament golf. She is just the second Upstate women’s golfer to record a hole-in-one, the other Johanna Ebenhag in the first round of the 2010 Great Smokies Intercollegiate, and the first Upstate golfer - male or female - to record two aces in their college careers.
While the hole-in-one Monday, as well as the one on Saturday, is something she will always remember, Hawkins also had the presence of mind to know that she had to place the focus back on her game. That is a thought process of a veteran golfer and not a freshman playing in the first tournaments of her career.
“The thing is, after I made hole in one today, I told myself that I needed to calm down,” said Hawkins. “I was still 1-over and I still had to concentrate and finish the round. I was also 1-over when I made the first hole-in-one. I still had 12 holes to play today. That is the hardest thing about something like that. You have to refocus and play. It’s just crazy. It is pure luck, but then again they were both good shots. But, that’s all a hole-in-one is, luck. It wasn’t like I was hitting a knockdown eight iron that you are supposed to get close. I was hitting a hybrid.”
Following the Terrier Intercollegiate, Upstate will head to the Wendy’s Charleston Classic Oct. 7-8. Could a third hole-in-one be in the cards for the freshman sensation?