'Best score ever': Young brothers both hit a hole-in-one

Brothers Leo (left), 7, and Benson Hona, 9, have scored holes-in-one. Photo / Golf NZ
Brothers Leo (left), 7, and Benson Hona, 9, have scored holes-in-one. Photo / Golf NZ
The odds of the average golfer making a hole-in-one in their lifetime are incredibly small — about 12,500 to one.

But the Hona brothers of Tauranga are making it look easy — incredibly achieving the feat on the same hole on the same course.

According to Golf New Zealand, the odds of both brothers scoring a hole-in-one are roughly 156 million to one.

Leo Hona, 7, became the youngest golfer to score a hole-in-one at Tauranga Golf Club, on January 26.

His achievement comes less than four months after his brother, Benson, scored his first hole-in-one aged only 9.

Leo was on the par-three fourth hole playing off the blue tees at Tauranga Golf Club when he claimed his rare feat.

Leo Hona, 7, became the youngest golfer to score a hole-in-one at Tauranga Golf Club, on January...
Leo Hona, 7, became the youngest golfer to score a hole-in-one at Tauranga Golf Club, on January 26. Photo / Golf NZ
“I whacked the ball and it hit the front of the bunker and bounced onto the green. We were wondering where it went,” he said.

It wasn’t until his playing partners went ahead to check and found the ball in the hole. Leo said he didn’t believe it at first and had to go and see for himself.

It felt “good” to have made his first hole-in-one just like his big brother, Benson.

His final score for the day after 18 holes was 92.

“That was my best score ever — usually shoot 100.”

In September, Benson Hona was on the same par-three hole at Tauranga Golf Club when he scored his hole-in-one playing off the purple tees on the Futures Course for junior golfers.

“I hit it straight up and it landed on the green and then it sort of bounced, and I didn’t know where it went next.

Benson Hona, 9,. Photo / Golf NZ
Benson Hona, 9,. Photo / Golf NZ
“I looked up on the green and it wasn’t on the green, and then my little brother Leo looked in the hole and the ball was in the hole.

“I was jumping around.”

Benson started playing golf about Christmas 2022, while Leo picked up the clubs last January, after their dad, Jason, took up the sport.

Asked what their favourite part about golf was, the pair said: “Getting hole-in-ones.”

“We have an Instagram page called Ridin Birdie Brothaz, but we are going to change it now to the Hole in One Brothers,” Leo said.

Tauranga Golf Club manager Michelle Towersey said to get a hole-in-one at ages 7 and 8 was “pretty cool”.

Towersey said she believed Leo was now the youngest golfer to have scored a hole-in-one at the club.

“It is a very rare feat, especially for a junior to be playing off the blue tees,” she said. “Some people can play for 60 years and never have one.”

A 14-year-old golfer from Rotorua became the youngest winner of the $10,000 grand prize at Taupō's Hole in One Challenge this month.