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Reed comes up aces at Centennial course

Willy Reed apparently likes a challenge.

The Medford man walked into the pro shot at Centennial Golf Club prior to his round on Wednesday to report a hole-in-one he made a few days earlier. He used a Titleist ball, and the company provides a memento for such things, so he wanted to get the paperwork started.

Assistant pro Anthony Ulloa took the information, then noted that Reed's ace on the 14th hole last Sunday gave him three at the course — all on different par 3s. The only one missing for the Centennial Grand Slam was No. 6.

Challenge accepted.

When Reed returned to the pro shop a few hours later, he had completed the Slam.

"Wasn't that strange," laughed the 74-year-old, whose two holes-in-one in four days gave him a total of nine.

Ulloa was astonished, of course.

"I told him I've got all kinds of witnesses," said Reed.

Reed said holes-in-one are "all luck. You can't make one from 21/2 feet when you're putting, but then you knock it in from 130 yards."

Still, he allowed, they are fun.

Reed plays golf any day they will let him.

"Only on the days that end in 'y,'" he said.

He only misses when a tournament interferes.

Reed keeps track of his rounds and said he's played more than 2,000 at Centennial, which is remarkable when you consider it only opened in the spring of 2006.

Vince Domenzain, Centennial's general manager and director of golf, is impressed by Reed's accomplishment.

"He plays a lot and he hits it pretty straight," said Domenzain. "That helps.

"He's probably our most frequent golfer, and he's very dedicated. He plays in the rain, sunshine, snow. He's had a lot of opportunities, and he's made the best of them. It's kind of cool."

Reed carries a 5 handicap and has shot his age 31 times since October — that's when he pays his dues — and 42 times the previous year.

When Reed made the ace on No. 6 Wednesday, it was a rather matter-of-fact experience. He hit a 9-iron 130 yards to the middle pin placement. His playing partners were Jerry Hinkle, Terry Earl, Dick Brekke and Dick Pruitt.

As usual, the ball was straight and true, but Reed didn't see it.

"At my age," he said, "you see where it's going but it goes out of sight on you."

When a companion said the ball disappeared, Reed said it was probably behind the flagstick.

How matter-of-fact was he? When they got there, he detoured to a greenside pond to look for lost balls. One of the others confirmed it was in the hole.

"Come over and take it out," the man shouted.

"Just throw it over to me," said Reed.

"No," said the other, "you come and get it."

When Reed made his ace on the 14th last Sunday, it was much the same. He didn't see it, in part because of a sand trap in front and a ridge that dissects the front-to-back sloping green.

They drove to the back and didn't see a ball. His partners, Pruitt and Hinkle, had both missed the green.

"I said, 'uh oh,'" said Reed.

This ace measured 152 yards to the back pin, and he hit a 7-iron.

Among Reed's other holes-in-one, three came at Rogue Valley Country Club, where he was a member for 24 years, and two were at Stone Ridge.

At RVCC, he made one on No. 13 on the outside course that hit the pin hard enough to make a loud "Clack!" he said, and dropped in.

Another was on No. 8 on the inside nine at RVCC during a pro-am. It was memorable on a couple of counts.

First, his wife and grandson arrived to watch and were behind the green. Reed, on an elevated tee, didn't realize it. He hit, and his wife told the boy, "There's grandpa; watch, it might go in the hole."

Sure enough.

Second, in that round, he made an eagle from the fairway on his group's first hole, chipped in for an eagle on its ninth hole, and made the ace and a couple birdies in between.

His pro, Kim Thurman of Riverview Country Club in Redding, Calif., turned to him and said, "Willy, you know you're 6 or 7 under?"

"I said, 'Don't tell me that, I don't want to hear that,'" said Reed. "Then I started gagging."

He shot 68 and still tied for low amateur.

Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 541776-4479, or email ttrower@mailtribune.com