"Come and get it," said the guard. So much for the bet.
Leonard (Two Down) Petrovitz, meanwhile, has assumed the identity of a long-missing Mayflower member. The problem is, he can't get past the Mayflower guards in his beat-up Pinto to get to his starting times. He's got to have new wheels. No problem. He and his entourage enter a local Shriner's tournament that happens to be giving away a new Lexus for a hole in one.
When the players arrived at the Charles River Golf Club, the batting order was just as Two Down hoped. He, Meltdown, Hoover and Cementhead were in the group behind Thud, who would play with three guys he had never met. It was a shotgun, and they were to begin on the 4th hole. Everybody had his instructions.
Two Down had played in enough charity scrambles to know how they work. There's an 8 a.m. shotgun and a 1 p.m. shotgun, with two foursomes planted on every hole, which means 144 players in the morning and another 144 in the afternoon. On the Lexus hole there would be the car, displayed next to the green, and somebody's wife, whose job it was to verify the hole in one on the million-to-one chance that it would happen. It sounds fun at first, watching hacks try to make a hole in one, but it gets numbing very fast, and so, after about two hours, Miss Verification is usually sitting back reading Danielle Steel.
By the time Thud's group came to the 16th tee at about 4:30 in the afternoon, the woman was lying on her lawn chair off the right side of the green, wearing sunglasses and needlepointing. Thud's group teed off, and since it was a scramble, all four players putted, Thud making sure to go last. After he putted out and the group began to walk off the green, Thud suddenly stopped and announced, actually enunciating for once in his life, "I'm gonna try it again." The other three stopped at the fringe to watch him. Nervously, he took his ball and plopped it down on the green and putted.
As the ball rolled, he secretly reached in his pocket and took out another ball—a different ball, a Titleist 1 that bore the imprint LEONARD PETROVITZ. He took this ball and hid it in his right hand, next to the putter grip. His putt stopped rolling two inches from the cup, and Thud brushed it into the hole with his putter. Now Thud reached into the hole with his right hand and switched balls. He took out his ball and put in Two Down's.
As Two Down's group prepared to hit, the woman looked up and watched, though it was not easy, because the sun was somewhat behind the players, off their right shoulders. Meltdown went first. His seven-iron came up short. Cementhead, to whom Two Down had entrusted absolutely no responsibilities, hit second, and his eight-iron landed nicely about 20 feet left. The needlepoint lady went back to her stitching. Hoover went third. His seven-iron landed on the right fringe.
Now Two Down stepped up. He had two clubs in his hand, his driver and his seven-iron. The needlepointer kept stitching.
Two Down gave the seven-iron to Meltdown and then teed the ball higher than usual, ready to hit driver on a 164-yard par-3. Taking a deep breath, he coiled and swung. He smashed one deep into the woods, easily 75 yards over the green and far, far left of it. The woman never looked up.
Quickly, Meltdown took the driver from Two Down and gave him back his seven-iron. Then Two Down whispered, "One...two...three...."