When Gary Woodland captured the U.S. Open Championship at Pebble Beach earlier this month, he said he only played five Titleist Pro V1 golf balls over the entire four rounds. His reasoning: "I only take one out of play after I make a bogey, and I only made four all week."
Alex Chiarella did four better. He only played one Titleist Pro V1x golf ball in his one shot victory at the Lethbridge Paradise Canyon Open on the Mackenzie Tour-Canada. The 2016 University of San Diego graduate by way of Maui, Hawaii, fired four consecutive rounds in the 60's en route to his first career win.
The win vaulted Chiarella to No. 3 on the Order of Merit and positioned him for a run at a 2020 Korn Ferry Tour card.
"The whole week was a little weird with the weather," said Chiarella when contacted by Team Titleist.
"On Thursday, I only played seven holes. We had a four-hour rain delay then they called it for the day. I had to wake up early Friday, finished my round, and I only had an hour before I started my second round. I finished my first round with my original ball at seven under and, I kind of thought, since it was the same day I'll just keep this ball going, it's going well. So I teed it up that afternoon, shot another good round, and, that's when I was kind of like, 'I think I might just tee it up on Saturday morning.' "
Golfers are a superstitious bunch, and Chiarelli got some odd looks from his playing partners by the time Sunday came around.
"I'll tell you, it was a little weird on the tee on Saturday morning, playing with these guys and saying, 'I'm playing a Titleist One, Blue Dot, Blue Line.' They kind of gave me a funny look like, that's not a brand new ball, I don't know what this guy's doing? But, I just let it roll and then, Sunday was the funniest because I played with the same guys as I did on Saturday. I get to the tee on Sunday morning and I introduced my golf ball and I just said, 'Hi guys, playing the same ball, like literally the exact same ball.' It was pretty funny."
The performance and durability of the golf ball over the four days never diminished as Chiarelli fired rounds of 64-67-65-68 to finish 20-under 264. While he has never played one golf ball for all four rounds prior to his win, he does not make a habit of changing as frequently as some players.
"I've never been the guy to change golf balls frequently, especially if I'm playing well," said Chiarelli. "I do have one funny story, though, from when I was 14 years old or so. I was playing in the U.S. Kids Championship at Pinehurst and my brother was my caddy. I started the tournament with birdies on each of the first three holes. On four, I pulled the drive a little bit, but still ended up making my fourth birdie in a row. The ball had a little scuff on it, and I remember changing golf balls on the next tee box. As soon as I changed golf balls, I made bogey on five and double on six. From that day forward, I pretty much told myself, if you're playing well with a golf ball, let it roll unless it’s really damaged. If it's working, keep it going."
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Thanks for the story, Alex, and congratulations on your first win in Canada!