Golf ‘miracle’: East Bay man makes 2 on par-6 closing hole at Lake Chabot

Kevin Pon didn’t see his tee shot skip all the way down the steep hill on No. 18, the funky par-6 at Lake Chabot Golf Course. Nor did Pon see his next shot bounce twice on the green and abruptly disappear into the hole.

But those were the only two swings he took.

Pon, a 54-year-old real estate appraiser who lives in Castro Valley, made a 2 on the hole, an extraordinarily rare “condor” — 4-under-par on one hole. His feat, during a round Dec. 10, created a flurry of media attention this week, after Lake Chabot officials posted the news on their Facebook page.

“I just couldn’t believe it,” Pon said Friday. “I had never been to the bottom of that hill (on his first shot) in all the years I’ve been playing. Then that one shot goes in the hole. Like I’ve told other people, it’s a miracle. Just unreal.”

The closing hole at Lake Chabot is well known in Bay Area golf circles, mostly because it’s one of only a handful of par-6s in the United States. No. 18 measures 667 yards from the back tees and plunges downhill, with the cart path zig-zagging back and forth, before climbing back uphill for the final 100 or so yards.

Pon, playing the white tees at 649 yards, had only about 110 left for his second shot. He’s a good player, typically shooting in the high 70s or low 80s, and he usually hits his tee shots around 280 yards — but this one must have bounded along the cart path, or maybe hit a sprinkler head along its nearly 540-yard journey.

Pon actually feared he lost the ball, until he and friend Darren Lee spotted it at the bottom of the hill. On his next shot, using a pitching wedge, Pon could only see the top of the blue flag — so he lofted the ball toward the green not expecting a commotion.

“The ball is going toward the flag, and then all of a sudden the group in front of us is clapping and screaming,” Pon said. “Then the ladies and the marshal behind us are clapping and bowing. Darren says, ‘Did it go in?’ I didn’t know.

“We drove up and the group in front of us says, ‘Look in the hole.’”

Those players later told Pon the ball landed in front of the hole, took one high bounce and then one small bounce right into the hole. A course marshal also witnessed the shot from behind Pon and Lee.

Pon, who shot 73 for his round, didn’t even realize his feat was known as a condor until he looked it up on the internet. There have only been four condors in golf history (all aces on par-5s) according to a June 2018 story on, citing as its source.

Pon hasn’t made a hole-in-one, but now he has an even better story to tell.

Ron Kroichick is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @ronkroichick

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