Mark Kunnen Shoots a Round for the Ages and Conquers The Preserve

Mark Kunnen after his career round (photo by Jim Grosjean)

Jim Grosjean

On June 4 Mark Kunnen gave hope to hackers around the world. A bona fide 11 handicapper at The Preserve, Mark shot an almost statistically impossible 71. I can attest that after playing many rounds with Mark, he earned his 11 handicap honestly, with many rounds in the 80s and even low 90s, interspersed with a rare score breaking 80. On this day, however, the planets aligned, the gods smiled, and lightning must have struck somewhere in the same place twice.

The round started with a bang on hole number 10. Mark played it like a pro, reaching the green in regulation and sinking his putt for a birdie. A bogey on number 11 and a par on number 12 gave no indication of what was to come, because on the difficult hole number 13, he chipped in for an eagle! After his second bogey of the day on number 14 and a par on number 15, more fireworks were in store. Kunnen hit a fine tee shot on number 16 and an even better second shot that stopped just a few feet short of the green. He used his putter to record his second eagle in four holes, and he followed that with a long birdie putt on number 17! Probably gasping for air at this point, he made a bogey on number 18 to finish with 33 on the back nine.

At this point, I was just a spectator. Mark was just one over par for the first four holes on the front nine. His first real hiccup came on hole number 5. A double bogey six ensued. Now I began to worry about a major collapse in the offing, but Mark turned it around with three pars and a one-putt birdie on his closing hole for a 38 on the front side and 71 total.

That 71 was his best round ever, and he shot his age, with years to spare. His game was a thing of beauty that day, and he won $5. Unfortunately for him, though, the golf gods and the USGA got their pound of flesh, as he woke up the next day with a handicap of seven, four strokes less than the day before. Good luck to his future partners for the next few months!