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Manhasset Golfer Hits Rare ‘Albatross’

We weren’t there to witness it ourselves, but we hear that on September 16, Ryan Devlin of Manhasset shot an “albatross”—three under par—on the 553-yard par-5 18th hole at South Bay Country Club in Oceanside.

Devlin was playing with Adam Baker of Rockville Centre, with whom he attended the University of Scranton. The outing was part of an ongoing bachelor’s send-off for Baker, who is getting married this November (and vouched for his college pal).

Like albatross the bird, three under par, which can be achieved with a hole-in-one on a par-4, two shots on a par-5 (most common), or three shots on a par-6, is extremely rare. It’s even more rare, in fact, than a par-3 hole-in-one, according to Wikipedia, which marks the albatross as truly—literally—a one-in-a-million shot, compared to one in 3,700 to one in 12,500 for a hole-in-one, depending on the hole. Between 1970 and 2003, the PGA Tour recorded just 84 albatross holes (an average of fewer than three per year). Nobody knows exactly when the term was coined and it appears to be quite recent. On April 8, 1935, a day after going three under on the par-5 15th hole at Augusta in the Masters, Gene Sarazen referred to his score as a “dodo.”  Ab Smith used the phrase ‘double eagle.’  Whatever you call it, Devlin’s achievement puts him in the company of great golfers such as Nick Watney and Shaun Micheel.  

Yet it is not the most rare of golf achievements. Only four times in recorded golf history has anyone scored four under par, known as a “condor” but also sometimes referred to as a “double albatross” or “triple eagle,” and all four were par-5 holes-in-one. Two strokes on a par 6 would also count, but that has never actually happened.