Jonathan Raymond | November 23, 2013
Imagine, for a moment, you’ve finally hit that holy grail of golf: a hole-in-one. You’ve probably hoped for a good chunk of your life that something like this would happen. Daydreamed about it. Practised your reaction. The whole shebang.
And now you’ve done it! And not only that, you win a brand new car!
Now…. take away the car. And add 10 strokes to your score on the next hole.
You’ve probably never heard of Welsh golfer Stuart Manley before, but you’re reading about him now because that’s exactly what happened to him at the World Cup of Golf on Saturday.
For a brief, shining moment, Manley was in second at the tournament at 7-under after his third-hole ace. He was also, he thought, the owner of a new Mercedes, awarded to anyone at the tournament who could knock a hole-in-one.
The first to go was the car. Turns out it’s only to be awarded to a golfer who hits the hole-in-one on Sunday. Sink an ace in the third round on Saturday, as Manley did? Tough luck.
Then his place on the leaderboard – just as quickly as it appeared – vanished. He septuple-bogeyed (that’s septuple, as in seven, and bogey, as in it just took seven shots more than par to get the ball in the cup) the fourth hole with an 11, bringing him all the way back to exactly par.
“I thought I had won the car, and the adrenaline was really pumping,” Manley told the AP on Saturday. “The highest high to the lowest low. I heard some giggles … some laughs.”
As the AP reported on that fourth-hole disaster:
“Manley’s approach on the fourth went into a greenside bunker, and his third shot went off the back of the green. When he chipped back on, his shot rolled off the front of the green and into a gully.
From there, it took him four attempts to get the ball back on the green – it kept rolling back down to his feet – before he three-putted for the 11. He went then from second to a tie for 15th.”
There was still some good news for the world No 346, though. He played well enough throughout the rest of the day to finish with a 1-over 72, which left him tied for eighth (along with Adam Scott and two others) after three rounds at the tournament.
It’s probably not a huge consolation after a turn of fortune so abrupt it will probably make him famous. Then again, if he somehow comes back to win on Sunday, he’ll lay claim to one of the more satisfying last laughs in golf history.