LOS ANGELES (AFP) - One-armed Canadian amateur golfer Laurent Hurtubise made a stunning hole-in-one at the US PGA American Express tournament, when he aced the 151-yard fourth hole at PGA West's Stadium Course.
The amazing ace took place during Thursday's (Jan 16) opening round of the first mainland US event of 2020, delighting PGA players and Hurtubise, who swings with his left arm because from birth his right arm has ended just below his elbow.
"That was the coolest experience I've had on the golf course," said three-time US PGA winner Troy Merritt, who was partnered with Hurtubise in a pro-am event played concurrently with the PGA tournament.
Hurtubise, who is from Montreal, has played in the California desert event multiple times, holed a 60-yard shot in 2018 and has made three aces since starting golf at age 11.
"As a kid, sports was a way for me to prove that even though I had a difference that I could perform as well as normal people ... as they call them," Hurtubise told the Desert Sun.
"People have differences and handicaps and whatever, but it was my way to prove that I could be as good as everybody else."
Hurtubise speaks to parents and youth at a children's hospital near his home, trying to inspire kids to play sports.
"It does feel fulfilling when someone tells me they have been inspired to play a sport because of me," he said.
Australian left-hander Greg Chalmers was playing in the group with Hurtubise and said Hurtubise made several impressive shots during his round.
"He hit the shot and it was a nice little cut for a leftie. Right away we sort of said 'Sit down' but it was one of those shots where you always thought, 'Hang on - this could go in'," Chalmers said.
"It landed around the front of the green and we were all watching it closely as it tracked toward the hole and then bang, it disappeared.
"We all went up in celebration and Laurent went ballistic... It was an incredible shot." "He's as cool as a cucumber. It was unreal. And I think he told me it was his third ace so that's awesome."
Chalmers recalled playing in last month's Australian Open, with the Australian All Abilities Championship played alongside. Golfers with disabilities play off the same tees and alongside their able-bodied counterparts.
"I saw some incredible golf back home with some of the best players from the world rankings for golfers with a disability and Laurent sure showed some of the same sort of skills out there," Chalmers said.