It was over 20 years since Ernie had played Warwick Hills, but it was very much a case of ‘happy returns’ in round one of the 2020 Ally Challenge.
Ernie recorded his 17th career hole-in-one on the penultimate hole of his first round. “I’d been getting a little frustrated up to that point,” confessed Ernie. “I’d not been making birdies and this was a hole where really you’re just looking to make par. Vijay hit a beautiful 6-iron to about three feet and I went with 6-iron, too. Hit a sweet shot there and it came out dead at the flag. My caddie Ricci said ‘nice golf swing’ and before you know it, the ball is in the hole. The beers were on me Sunday night!”
For Ernie, it was great to be back at Warwick Hills, home of the PGA TOUR’s Buick Open for many years.
“Yeah, I have been looking forward to it for a while now,” said Ernie. “When I saw it on the calendar, even before I turned 50, I was like, ‘I’m going to go play there. I had good tournaments here back in the day. As I say, I haven’t been here for over 20 years, but I have a lot of good memories from the golf course and from the city. When I came here last time, I was a young man. I was in my 20s, and now I’m in my 50s. But the golf course really is still very much the same. It’s in great condition, so really happy to be back.”
Ernie shot rounds of 69, 69, 72 for a 6-under par aggregate and tied-27th.
A couple of weeks later, at the Charles Schwab Series at Bass Pro Shops Big Cedar Lodge, Missouri, Ernie made his 18th career hole-in-one.