Close counts only in horseshoes and hand grenades.

The closest any golfer got to the $1 million hole Sunday in the final round of the Pattie A. Clay Foundation “shootout” Sunday was 8 feet and 10 inches. While nearly 9 feet from the big money, Kyle Goble’s drive was about 24 inches from a $10,000 hole.

Another golfer, Paul Wolfenbarger, came within 15 inches of a $10,000 hole and 9 feet, 2 inches from the $1 million hole, but the only prizes given out at Gibson Bay were golf clubs.

Goble received a set of clubs, and each of other 33 finalists went home with a new putter.

While two golfers automatically qualified for Sunday’s final round by sinking holes-in-one on drives of about 150 yards during the first round, no one put the ball in a cup on Sunday.

Timothy Byrd made a hole-in-one Thursday, while Bob Ford did the same on Saturday. Neither could repeat that feat on Sunday.

Beginning Thursday for $1 a ball, golfers could hit as many balls as they wanted toward a 6-foot ring more than 100 yards away. More than 90 hit inside the ring and qualified for the semi-final round that began 4:30 p.m. Sunday. The 23 golfers who hit closest to the hole during the semi-final round advanced to the finals along with Byrd and Ford. Eight corporate sponsors also got to put a golfer in the final round. Toyota South along with Gates Nissan and Gates Hyundai were the overall sponsors.

Former Eastern Kentucky University faculty member Sandy Martin was the only woman to make the finals. All the finalists hit right-handed.

With the flags on 19 poles flapping in the brisk breeze, the target green for the final round looked more like a thicket than a golf green.

When big money is on the line and a large crowd is watching, what otherwise might be doable became more difficult.

Even with 19 holes on a normal sized green, none of the finalists could get a ball in a cup. Only about six golfers even landed a ball on the green.

“Good swing” was the most frequent compliment that master of ceremonies Mancil Davis, “the King of Aces,” could offer during the final round. Davis tried to “talk” some balls into a hole or at least onto the green, but the balls wouldn’t listen.

Davis holds the world’s record for holes-in-one at 50.

“This has been a fun event and a successful fund-raiser for the Pattie A. Clay Foundation,” said Larry Bailey, the foundation’s director. “With such great response from the golfing public in Madison County and beyond, we’re already planning for another shootout next year.”

Bailey said a report of the number of participants and amount of funds raised “would have to wait a few days.”

Bill Robinson can be reached at brobinson@richmondregister.com or at 623-1669, Ext. 267.

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