Coach hits ace in Blockbuster Million Dollar Cash Shootout semifinal
Posted: 04/17/2001
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McAllen resident Israel Castillo had "lady luck" on his side Saturday when he hit his first-ever hole-in-one to automatically qualify for the Blockbuster Million Dollar Cash Shootout Saturday, April 21.

"It was a pretty magical feeling," he said. "It was my first hole-in-one in my whole life."

The Blockbuster Million Dollar Cash Shootout is part of The University of Texas-Pan American Pan Am Classic golf tournament at Los Lagos Golf Club. Proceeds will go toward UTPA student scholarships through the UTPA Foundation.

Israel Castillo, left, receives goodies from Mark Lacy of UTPA after making a hole-in-one during the semifinal round of the Blockbuster Million Dollar Cash Shootout. Up to 50 people will have one shot each to make an ace and win a million dollars cash during the Pan Am Classic golf tournament April 20-21.

During the Shootout semifinals at the Los Lagos Golf Club driving range, Castillo, a McAllen High School tennis coach for 17 years, was one of the last players in a group of 40 to be called to the tee. He qualified for three shots during pre-qualifying rounds earlier in the day.

Before more than 100 spectators, Castillo took his first swing and saw the ball travel 70 yards, hit the flag and drop into the hole.

"I hit the ball, heard the clatter and then saw everyone go crazy," said Castillo, who plays golf about three times annually. "I just hit the ball into the wind, and the wind caught it and dropped it into the hole."

Afterward, he picked up the two remaining golf balls and returned them to the registration table, having automatically qualified for the Shootout Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

"I've only played once this year and played four buckets of golf balls," he said. "I would say this is the most I have hit all year."

Castillo said his family, friends and McHi tennis players will be on hand to cheer him on in hopes he will be one of the contestants to win a million dollars.

Meanwhile, McAllen attorney Ruben Ramirez also recorded a hole-in-one during the semifinal and automatically qualified for the Shootout.

An additional $57,000 is available during the Shootout for flags valued at $10,000, $4,000 and $1,000 for balls that miss the million dollar mark.

For more information on the Blockbuster Million Dollar Cash Shootout or the Pan Am Classic, call 956/318-5301.