James Vercher took to the links about eight years ago following a baseball injury. 

At about the same time, the Orangefield High School graduate started a job at a paper mill in Chopin, La., where he is a supervisor.

“He was  shocked,” says his mother. “He didn’t even know he did it.”

What he did was double-eagle on a par 5 hole at the LSUA Oakland Plantation Golf Course in Alexandria. The shot gave Vercher a 69 for 18 holes. 

Usually he shoots a 74 or 75 playing with a group of retired friends. At 59, he’s the youngest in the group.

Vercher, son of Edna Vercher of Orange and the late Joe Vercher Jr., hit his driver for about 230 yards, then used a 7-wood to hit over some trees for about 197 yards.

“I was still looking for it in the woods” when the ball was found in the cup, Vercher told an Alexandria newspaper. One of his golfing partners asked him, “What kind of ball [are] you hitting?”

“Titleist,” James said.

“It’s in the hole,” his friend told him, then picked it up and showed it to him.

Earlier this year, Vercher got his first hole-in-one on the par-3 10th hole at the OakWing Golf Course.

Golf experts rate the odds of a hole-in-one at about 13,000 to 1, and the odds of hitting a double eagle at about a million to 1.

Vercher told friends he was more thrilled to get the hole-in-one last July than he was the double-eagle.

“I’ve always said if I ever hit a hole-in-one, I’d quit the game because where do you go from there?” Vercher told the paper. “It’s something I’ve always aspired to. I never even dreamed about getting a double-eagle.”

After his baseball injury, Vercher had to have knee surgery, his mother says.

Before he moved to Louisiana, Vercher worked at the Owens Illinois plant (also sometimes called “O.I.”) in Jasper.