Scott Gardiner began his Emirates Australian Open with a nasty double-bogey on the 10th hole at The Australian Golf Club.
Little did he know that less than two minutes later, a long-held dream would be fulfilled as the keys to a brand new Lexus fell into his lap.
Gardiner, who splits time between the Gold Coast and the United States, was so happy just to see his ball land out of the bunker on the par-3 11th hole that he turned away content when it bounced on the green.
About five seconds later, his playing partner Ryan Fox yelled out, “Go in the hole” –not quite in time for Gardiner to turn as the crowd behind the Lexus hole roared as the ball trickled back off the bank behind the green and into the cup for his ninth career hole-in-one.
Gardiner’s shot was beamed around the world and his wife in the USA began to plot the arrival of the Lexus NX 300h F Sport, texting furiously with his caddie’s wife as they prepared for Thanksgiving celebrations.
“It will put a smile on their face – they’ll have a bit of turkey and have a car,” Gardiner beamed.
“It’s exciting to be back home playing in Australia and to win a great car like a Lexus is unbelievable.
“I had an opportunity to buy one about 10 years ago, so it’s great to get my hands on those keys because it’s a great automobile.”
Gardiner’s 7-iron to the 172m par three was, remarkably, his third hole-in-one in the past two years.
And maybe those in the know sensed it was imminent.
“My Auntie actually said this week, `I don’t care what you do in the tournament, but just get a hole-in-one on the 11th and get that Lexus for your auntie’,” Gardiner said.
“But we didn’t shake on it.”
Gardiner’s round, though, was far from a one-trick wonder.
The Web.com Tour player’s 68 left him tied for second with New South Welshman Aron Price.
“After holing out on 11th, I knocked it in from off the green on the 12th and the boys were laughing at me telling me to be serious,” Gardiner said.
“But I actually played pretty good after that.
“It’s nice to be able to do that at home – I love being here and it’s a good feeling to play some decent golf in front of family and friends who don’t get to see me play very often.
“The hole-in-one was important though — it definitely changed my mindset because I wasn’t being very kind to myself walking to the 11th tee.”