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Pennsylvania golfer travels out of state, gets first hole-in-one under 'weird' conditions

MIKE BIRES
Beaver County Times (TNS)
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Like many golf enthusiasts in western Pennsylvania, Michael Colangelo has crossed state lines in order to play during the coronavirus pandemic.

Courses in Pennsylvania may be closed. But on Friday, Colangelo and three friends from Beaver County enjoyed a round of golf in southeast Ohio. It was a round that included a milestone moment that Colaneglo will never forget.

On the eighth hole at Turkana Golf Course in St. Clair Township, near East Liverpool, Colangelo, a 53-year-old resident of Hopewell, recorded his first hole-in-one.

With his pitching wedge on the 141-yard par 3, Colangelo hit a perfect shot. His ball landed a few feet before the hole. It then rolled toward the cup and stopped, leaning against a small piece of a foam swimming pool noodle wrapped around the flag stick.

At Turkana and other courses that allow golf during COVID-19, foam noodles are used as a way to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. If a ball hits the noodle, it counts as if it rolled into the cup. That way no one has to stick their hand into the cup to retrieve a ball and no one has to even touch the flag stick.

Typically, when a golfer records an ace, there are congratulatory high-fives and jokes about who buys drinks afterwards. But not on this day for Colangelo and friends. Social distancing wouldn't allow it.

"It was kind of weird," said Colangelo, whose ace helped him shoot an 88. "We stayed six feet away from each other all day. The course was very strict about that. No one shook hands after we finished. There were no bars we could go to afterwards. I wanted to buy the guys drinks. But I couldn't."

For his ace, Colangelo did receive a commemorative hole-in-one golf hat from Turkana's pro shop.

On Friday, Colangelo was playing with Michael Fontana of Hopewell, Glenn DeLisio of Center and Elio Filippi of Brighton Township.

Each of them drove separately from their homes to Turkana. Greens fees were paid in advance over the phone with credit cards. When they arrived, they each had to ride their own cart.

"We weren't able to congregate before or after (our round)," Colangelo said. "We had to get right on the course when we got there, and right off when we finished."

Courses in parts of Ohio and West Virginia that border western Pennsylvania were busy over the weekend.

"If you called Saturday or Sunday, you can't get a tee time anywhere," Colangelo said. "Every place is booked. We tried Firestone Farms. We tried Kensington. We tried a couple other places but couldn't get a tee time."

Colangelo and some of his golfing friends did find a course to play Sunday in West Virginia.