Golf: Hurst aces it on Pebble Beach course

Ian and Gloria Hurst have lunch overlooking the 18th hole at Pebble Beach. Photos supplied.
Ian and Gloria Hurst have lunch overlooking the 18th hole at Pebble Beach. Photos supplied.
A congratulatory banner given to Ian Hurst for his hole-in-one.
A congratulatory banner given to Ian Hurst for his hole-in-one.

Ian Hurst has seen the world, played international rugby and cut major business deals, but he has just had the biggest thrill of his career.

The prominent North Otago identity and former All Black is a passionate golfer and shot his first hole-in-one in the United States a couple of days ago.

Oh, and it was at a reasonably famous course: Pebble Beach.

Hurst aced the par-three seventh at the California links course, which has hosted six major championships.

The hole was playing 86m with a firm head wind, he told the Otago Daily Times in an email.

"I played a three quarter-strength pitching wedge that landed a metre from the hole, bounced twice and then into the bucket.

"Lots of celebrations followed, and it took until the next day to comprehend the significance of the entire experience.''

Hurst, a proud member of the Lower Waitaki club off a 3.8 handicap, was told Pebble Beach attracted 70,000 players on average each year, and there were just 80 aces on the course each year.

He and wife Gloria are in a group of about 30 New Zealanders and Australians on a golf tour, and have already played at the Monterey Peninsula Country Club and Spyglass Hill.

"We have enjoyed stunning weather, great camaraderie, and courses with history that forms part of the game's intrigue.''

Hurst said the tour had been organised by Stephen Walker, an Australian-based New Zealander, with the help of Steve Johns, who has played in several New Zealand Opens and is the organiser of the annual AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

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