The second morning of the Kazakhstan Open witnessed incredible scenes as two players made holes-in-one, winning themselves brand new cars in the process.
First Denmark’s Jeppe Pape Huldahl holed a wedge from 148 metres on the first hole, the tenth of his round, to win the double prize of an Audi A4 and a Perrelet watch.
Then Dutchman Maarten Lafeber made an ace on the 169metre 16th hole, winning an Audi A6, the second of five cars offered by sponsors at Nurtau GC with all five par threes carrying these bonus prizes.
Huldahl has history at this venue, having set the course record in 2013 when he shot a nine under par 63 in the first round, and was delighted to continue his happy relationship with this event.
I love it here in Kazakhstan - I got the course record two years ago, now a hole-in-one! I wish we could play here every week
“I didn’t really believe it when it went in,” he said. “I’ve made two holes-in-one before but never in a Challenge Tour event, this was the first.
“I hit a wedge in, about 150 metres, which seems a long way but in this heat and these conditions the ball travels a long way.
“It’s the best feeling, I was a bit dizzy afterwards and didn’t really know what to do! It’s just a great bonus – you don’t stand on the tee thinking about winning the car. I don’t know how many times I’ve played par threes and not won the car that’s on offer, so it’s never in your mind.
“I just love it here in Kazakhstan. I got the course record a couple of years ago, now this – I wish I could play here every week. And Danish players seem to do well here, with Joachim B Hansen tying my record yesterday.”
By contrast, Lafeber freely admitted that his group, which also included Andreas Hartø and Ryan Evans, had been aiming to win the car at every opportunity after disappointing opening rounds.
“The three of us were joking about it all day,” he said. “Andreas had had a bad day yesterday so he tried for it on the first. I actually hit it straight at the pin on the first and thought it was going in, so every hole we were joking about it.
I actually looked at the car one more time before I hit it and thought 'why not?' - it was just one of those moments
“Then on the 12th Ryan Evans hit it to an inch, almost holed it there. Andreas was disappointed because he didn’t make it on 16 when he was trying for a hole-in-one all round, and I thought I was out of the tournament because I’d just made two stupid bogeys in a row and I was disappointed.
“I thought I’d just hit a seven iron, and I actually looked at the car one more time before I hit it and thought ‘why not?’ and it was just one of those moments.
“It went straight at it, never left the pin, just hopped once, checked and dropped. And Andreas absolutely lost it! Then we heard another Dane, Jeppe, had made one on the first.
“I won an Audi A6 and even though I was extremely disappointed not to play better, because my preparation was good, there is at least one positive thing to come from this week.
“A couple of years ago I made a hole-in-one in India and also won a car, and I’ve made two others in tournaments before this one today. I actually drive an A6 at home and was looking for a new car right now, so this is perfect timing for me to get a new one.”Of the morning starters the most significant move came from South African Shaun Norris whose six under par round of 67 set the clubhouse lead at nine under par as Hansen was about to tee off on the same score.