Fort Dodge’s Sergeant enjoys memorable round

Golfer shoots lower than his age with an ace during a closing 70 that nets him Carroll Am Super Senior title

Messenger file photo by Eric Pratt Fort Dodge’s Dave Sergeant putts at the Country Club during a previous Fort Dodge Amateur golf tournament.

Dave Sergeant had such a spectacular day on the golf course last week that he decided to stop and buy a lottery ticket on the drive home from Carroll to Fort Dodge.

”I didn’t even get one lousy number right,” the 73-year-old attorney laughed. ”I was at a convenience store in a small town on the way back and thought, ‘why not? The stars seemed to be in alignment.’ But it wasn’t meant to be.”

Though Sergeant didn’t strike it rich by trying his luck after a memorable round, he did cash in on an impressive performance at the Carroll Amateur earlier in the day. Sergeant shot three strokes below his age, thanks in large part to a hole-in-one to start his back nine. The one-under par 70 helped secure the Super Senior title at the event, and placed the five-time Fort Dodge Amateur champion sixth in the overall senior field.

”It was raining, and on the very first hole, I duck-snapped my drive straight left,” Sergeant said. ”I thought for sure I was out of bounds, but I was clear by about four feet. I hit a hybrid (out of trouble) and got up-and-down from there for par.

”I decided to put the driver away at that point and used a five-wood off the tee for the rest of the round. Because I was hitting my irons well and making some putts, it all worked out.”

Sergeant’s ace — the fifth of his career — came via a 160-yard 7-iron at the par-3 10th. Thanks to a tip from an old golfing buddy, Sergeant was even able to enjoy the moment in real time.

”A good friend of mine, (Muscatine amateur standout) John Peters, convinced me recently to switch to yellow Titleist balls,” Sergeant said. ”It was more and more difficult for me to see the white ones, and we were talking about the best alternative to that, so I gave it a try.

”It’s great. The yellow is so much better for me at this stage in the game. I even saw (the shot) the entire way (into the hole) … I didn’t have to look around and ask, ‘what in the heck just happened?”’

Sergeant estimates he’s been at his age or better — considered a unique accomplishment for most senior amateurs — nearly 30 times since first carding a 66 at the age of 67 in May of 2012. Despite the relative frequency for Sergeant, every time is still special and the degree of difficulty remains.

”I do it a couple of times a year, but it never gets old,” Sergeant said. ”I appreciate the fact that it’s never easy to shoot better than your age, regardless of how old you are. It’s not just physical, but mental.

”You tend to get in your own head about it. I’ve caught myself countless times, in the middle of a good round, thinking, ‘if I do this or that and just close out the round, I’ll shoot my age or better. Sure enough, that’s almost always when the bogeys start rolling in.”

Sergeant is signed up for the Fort Dodge Amateur, which begins this Friday at the Fort Dodge Country Club. The four-time city champion has also penciled the 2018 Webster County tournament into his schedule for next month; Sergeant hasn’t been able to play in the event for over 15 years due to other prior commitments.

”Things have worked out for me so far this year and I’ve been able to get to more tournaments,” Sergeant said. ”I’m looking forward to the (FD Am), and I’d really like to get back into the city. I went through a pretty big equipment change (last year), and I figure I might as well justify the investment (by competing more. So I’m back out there, grinding away.”

Especially without a winning lotto ticket.

”I’d probably be talking to you from a cruise ship somewhere if that had happened,” Sergeant winked.