David Fern was sure there had been a mistake.
The women’s golf coach at Division III Whitworth University couldn’t believe what he saw on the live scoring last Monday. On the 490-yard par-5 seventh hole at Wine Valley Golf Club, sophomore Gabby Martinez had a 2 on the scorecard. An albatross.
Only 30 minutes later, senior Brianna McNelly also had a 2 pop up on the same hole.
“I was really hoping someone didn’t put a 2 when they meant to put a 5,” Fern told Golfweek. “I started hearing more and more, and that’s when I believed it was real.”
Fern was with Whitworth’s B team, which was on the other side of the course, before he hopped in his cart and drove to the other side to find out whether it was true.
And it was.
Martinez and McNelly each made an albatross during the final round of the Confluence Classic in Walla Walla, Washington. The pair were three groups apart, with Martinez holing her 6-iron from 192 yards out for the first 2. McNelly followed, dunking a 7-wood from 202 yards.
“It was one of the purest shots I’ve ever hit,” McNelly said. “I just wanted a chance for an eagle putt because I’ve never had one. I think I might be the only person to have an albatross but not an eagle.”
Gabby Martinez (right) and Brianna McNelly each made albatross last week at the Confluence Classic. (Photo provided)
The PGA of America says the chances of an albatross are 6 million-to-1. For comparison, the chances of making a hole-in-one are 12,500-to-1.
Whitworth assistant Dave Hall was with Martinez when she lined up her approach into the par 5. They picked a line over the bunker. Martinez smashed her 7-wood and asked her coach, “right there?” Hall responded, “Yep, right there.”
Safe to say, they had the right line.
“I mean, it is unbelievable,” Fern said. “I don’t think that has happened in the history of college golf, two teammates making albatross at the same tournament on the same hole and the same day. It’s incredible.”
The albatrosses helped Whitworth finish runner-up to defending national champion George Fox. McNelly finished tied for seventh while Martinez placed T-21.
And for McNelly and Martinez, they’ll have a story to brag about the rest of their lives.