COLUMBIA — The last time Joe Bradley and his buddies played Oak Hills Golf Course in Jefferson City, friend Alex Gray drove the green on the par-4 17th hole.
Bradley, a Columbia resident, suggested Gray take out his GoPro camera and videotape their tee shots when they returned to the 290-yard hole.
Bradley’s intuition paid off. The camera captured his hole-in-one.
“Just had a feeling, I guess,” Bradley said over the phone Monday night.
Bradley and his three buddies saw his golf ball bounce one time on the green in front of the pin and then disappear. They thought it went in, but they weren't positive.
His friends made him endure their approach shots before he ran up to the green to check.
Sure enough, the ball was in the cup.
Bradley has been playing golf since he was 8. He played competitively for his high school team in Omaha, Neb., and tried to walk on to the Missouri golf team his freshman year. He didn’t make the cut, but he continued to play on weekends. Now a graphic designer who works from home, Bradley plays two or three times a week.
The hole-in-one, he said, was a weight off his shoulders.
“I’ve always had nightmares that the first time it’d be when I’m out on the course by myself or uphill on a par-3 where you don’t see the ball go in or after I put a ball out-of-bounds first and then make it,” Bradley said.
“I don’t expect it to ever happen again in my lifetime.”
Bradley, a 5 handicap, finished the round with a score of 73. It was the third-best round of his life.
But good fortune was only beginning for the 2011 graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism and former information graphic designer at the Columbia Missourian.
Last month, Bradley entered a T-shirt design contest run by YouTube sensation Kid President. Earlier Monday, Bradley found out he won the contest. He will be donating his $1,000 prize to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Missouri.
“I’m riding the wave of good luck this week so far,” Bradley said. “I don’t know how tomorrow is going to top these last two days.”