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Real estate prof sets golf hole-in-one record

“I can’t prove it, I can’t disprove it, but my ball was in the hole,” Mike Crean says of his record hole in one. Photo: Ahmad Terry/Rocky Mountain News

DU real estate Professor Mike Crean was a reluctant celebrity last summer when area newspapers ran articles about the anniversary of his world-record golf shot. Crean, who has been playing golf for 49 years, made the longest hole-in-one in American history on July 4, 2002. Although the 517-yard par-5 hole is listed in the U.S. Golf Register, Crean still has a hard time believing he really did it because no one actually saw the ball go in.

According to Crean, there was a straight line of sight from the tee to the hole, so it’s unlikely that anyone could have picked up the ball and dropped it in without Crean or his three partners seeing them. The ball might have hit a stone yard marker located at ground level and then bounced into the hole. Or, it might have gone straight in.

“I can’t prove it, I can’t disprove it, but my ball was in the hole,” Crean says.

The near-impossible feat happened on the ninth hole of Green Valley Ranch Golf Club (near Denver International Airport) on a day with perfect conditions. The fairway was hot, the ground was hard and Crean had a 30-mph tail wind. That same summer, those factors and the high altitude worked together to help golfer Ryan Gearhart make a record 510-yard drive during a qualifier for the RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship in Bennett, Colo. Crean believes that he and Gearhart benefited from similar circumstances.

The world record isn’t Crean’s only hole-in-one: he’s had five other aces. Crean typically can be found on the green five times per week, often zooming through 18 holes in two hours.

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