Friday, February 1, 2008

This Guy Plays Golf Better Than I Do!

I love a good story. And what are the odds of this happening to anyone? Leo Fiyalko, 92, a legally blind golfer with macular degeneration, scored a hole-in-one at a Clearwater country club. His 110-yard shot with a five iron was his first hole-in-one..and he's been golfing for 60 years!

Leo Fiyalko would just as soon get on with life. Big deal. And who cares if he is legally blind, with a condition called macular degeneration? Fiyalko doesn't understand what all the fuss is about. "It's my first hole-in-one, and I never saw it," Fiyalko said. That's about all he'll say on the subject. But that didn't stop his friends in the Twilighters Club golf group from presenting him with a plaque on Jan. 24 commemorating the feat. There is a picture on the plaque of the fifth hole and a line that reads: "Leo Fiyalko, hole-in-one, five iron, 110 yards."

"I was just trying to put the ball on the green." Fiyalko, who has been playing golf since he moved to St. Petersburg from Warren, Ohio, in the 1950s, was playing with Larry Kellaris, Dorothy Mrkvica and Jean Gehring. In his prime, Fiyalko played to a seven handicap, but now he needs help lining up his shots and finding his golf balls. "Dorothy actually shot before Leo and her ball went into the water," Gehring said. "We were all over by the water trying to find the ball and I looked up and Leo was about to hit. I said, 'Hey, somebody has to watch Leo.' So I went up there and saw him hit and it was a pretty good shot. I could tell it went on the green, so when we got up there I didn't see it. I looked in the hole and there it was."

Reports say Fiyalko reacted with a simple, "How 'bout that," and continued with his round. When he got to the clubhouse after the round, his friends had to prod him to tell his wife, Pat, about the feat. "When he got back to the clubhouse we told him to tell Pat what he did," said Sue Rogan, who has run the Twilighters for the last seven years. "He said no, he didn't want to. So Pat says, 'I suppose you made a hole-in-one.' He said, 'Yes, I did.'

I love this story and the fact that he still gets out there and plays. And talk about humble. This man exemplifies it! When his club presented a plaque to Fiyalko, he buried his face in his hands and shook his head. "Oh boy," he said. Now that's cool! Congratulations you ol' duffer!