Australian Northern Territory golfer David Pennell struck it rich when he landed a hole-in-one at Quilpie Golf Club during the Outback Queensland Masters tournament.
Pennell, who plays out of the Murrumbidgee Golf Club, picked up $10,000 for his effort playing Quilpie’s remote sand greens layout.
“After 51 years of playing golf, I finally hit a hole-in-one,” a jubilant Pennell said.
“I just hit a sweet 5-iron and the ball went into the hole. I can’t believe it.
“This is by far the most challenging par-3 I’ve ever played, and on one of the most challenging golf courses in Australia.
“It’s quite different to the greens in the ACT,” Pennell laughed.
When asked how he planned to spend the $10,000, he replied: “Well, I just ordered a $10,000 golf buggy, so it’s going straight to that.
“(It’s about) keeping the spending going round in the industry.”
Pennell was fortunate to land his 5-iron ace when he did because later in the round the shaft snapped in half in the harsh conditions.
Golf Australia’s golf operations and state senior manager (Queensland) Luke Bates said it was the richest amateur prize pool in the world.
“And it’s Australia’s most remote golf series,” Bates said.
“To be here and see this happen on the sand greens in Quilpie is amazing.
“It really is golf of a different kind out here.
“Many of the players on tour are also vying for the million-dollar hole-in-one challenge at the end of this six-location golf series.
“The event commenced in Biloela, we then played in Charleville and now in Quilpie.”
Golfers then headed for Blackall, Hughenden and finally Longreach for the $1m hole-in-one showdown.
“The natural beauty of this place, combined with the generous and friendly locals, really sums up the essence of why we’re holding this unique golf event,” Bates added.
“It’s been developed to encourage visitors to spread the economic benefit to as much of the outback as possible while experiencing some incredibly unique locations, golf courses and outback Queensland hospitality.
Quilpie Golf Club president Bruce Paulsen said he was delighted with the response.
“We’ve been blown away at the number of visitors in town this week.
“And it’s not just David Pennell striking it rich,” said Paulsen, a local grocer.
“Just yesterday morning, we sold some 70 loaves of bread within our first hour of opening.
“We just love living out here – and it looks like everyone else is discovering it too.”
For the record, Outback Queensland Masters tournament adventurers played at Biloela, Charleville, Quilpie, Blackall, Hughenden and Longreach golf clubs – a distance of more than 2000kms, one way.