published Sunday, May 19th, 2013

Four aces leave them flush in Signal Invitational

Penn Mattison figured he'd try to extend his luck by buying Powerball tickets Saturday night after he made his first hole-in-one Friday.

He couldn't get to the store before good luck struck again at the Signal Mountain Invitational.

Mattison aced No. 7 on Saturday afternoon. Two other golfers also scored holes-in-one -- both on No. 14 from 124 yards with wedges -- including Baylor School golfer Oliver Simonsen and tournament leader Davin White.

"All of those guys are avoiding me," said Signal Mountain Golf and Country club bartender Paul Martin, knowing that four aces had been made in the tournament's first two days.

"Yesterday, I was happy to get the monkey off my back," said Mattison, a landscaper from Nashville with three kids including a 14-month-old special-needs daughter. "Today I saw it go in and I was shaking for five holes. It took forever to get calmed down.

"Both of them were perfect shots that bended on in."

White, a junior golfer at Georgia State, shot a 7-under-par 64 including his ace on No. 14 with the flagstick located toward the front and left sides of the green.

"It just spun back and it dropped and everybody went crazy," said White, who has a teammate and a brother playing in the tournament as well. "Our team barely missed [NCAA] regionals and I was looking for a tournament to play in to start the summer, and my dad found this.

"It feels good to be in contention, because I haven't been in contention since junior golf."

Sitting at 7-under 137, White leads UNC Charlotte sophomore Riley Davenport by one. Tennessee Wesleyan sophomore Cody Godfrey and Matt Robertson are two behind White at 139.

Davenport -- a student of Ben English, father of PGA Tour player and former Baylor golfer Harris English -- has played three rounds on the 6,095-yard course and put himself in contention to win against another Atlanta-based college golfer and two local competitors who know the mountain course.

"There is some home-course advantage, but you still have to think it's golf," Davenport said. "I want to stay in my game and keep with my game and see what happens."

But the topic of the day on the patio at Signal Mountain centered around Mattison, who has been playing golf for about 30 years and never had an ace until Friday. Then he got his second by acing No. 7 with a pitching wedge from 143 yards.

His Friday ace came at the difficult 14th from 203 yards with a 4-iron while playing with his friend Scott Baker and former math teacher Jeff Sherrill.

Golf Digest has estimated that the odds of a golfer scoring a hole-in-one at 12,000-to-one. Sherrill calculated the math and figured the odds of somebody scoring aces on back-to-back days at one in 1.4 million.

"Baker, my buddy, lived down here and he talked me into coming down and having some fun," said Mattison, who played in the next-to-last group of the day. "We've already had some fun."

To continue the fun with a crowd of about 20 gathered around the scoreboards, Mattison had one last question.

"Anybody want a drink?" he shouted. "I'm buying!"

Contact David Uchiyama at duchiyama@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6484. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP

about David Uchiyama...

David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...

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