hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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October 17, 2013

6 hit hole-in-one shots at contest

Annual Gazette Santa Fund event raises $5,059

Two young golfers showed how it’s done when they landed perfect shots at the 44th annual Haverhill Gazette Hole-in-One Contest.

They were among six people who made hole-in-one shots at this year’s event, which saw three perfect autumn days last week, followed by one drizzly and chilly day.

The event, held at Garrison Golf Center on Hilldale Avenue, raised $5,059, about the same amount as last year. The money will go to help local families who would otherwise go without gifts for their children during the holiday season.

“I think it went very well,” said Mary Murphy, who, along with her husband, Ted Murphy, has hosted the contest for decades. “We had three very busy days, then on Saturday it was kind of drizzly and cold. But we still did well.’’

During the first night of the contest, 13-year-old Michael Strazzere of Reading landed a shot just 32 inches from the hole, qualifying him for a prize.

“It’s a lot of fun,” said Michael, who returned the following night to try his luck again along with his godfather Jeff Howard of Methuen.

Golfers paid $8 for a bucket of balls, which they drove toward a hole 125 yards away. Those landing closest to the pin won prizes donated by local businesses and individuals. The prizes included golf equipment and gift certificates.

The first hole in one of the event came last Thursday night, the second night of the contest, when 10-year-old Josh Lavallee, a fifth-grader at Bradford Elementary School and a regular at Garrison Golf, started swinging at his second bucket of balls. He landed a prize-winning shot and eventually claimed his prize of a new club.

“I was shocked when it went in,” Josh said.

Bill Brennan, 67, comes to the event every year. He was with his friend John Abruzzi, 61.

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