Auret's maiden hole-in-one helping to establish an Open tradition

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 06 December, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 06 December, 2003, 12:00am

South Africa's Tyrol Auret shot the first hole-in-one of the new European Tour season and the 113th overall on the Asian PGA Tour yesterday. Auret (below) holed his pitching wedge at the 149-yard second hole. But his ace will go unrewarded as there is no hole-in-one prize on offer at the tournament this week.

'That's my first hole in one and I'm thrilled,' said the 27-year-old Auret. 'I did not get too excited at first as I heard the ball hit the flag but as it is an elevated green, I did not see whether it had gone in or not. Then when I was walking up to the green, I could not see the ball anywhere so I realised it was in the hole. It went straight in, a slam dunk, as the front of the hole was damaged,' added Auret.

Ireland's Peter Lawrie had the honour of shooting the first hole-in-one of last season's European Tour, an ace at the eighth hole during last year's Hong Kong Open. A car was on offer at another hole, but organisers later gave Lawrie a watch. Auret can only hope they are as generous this time.

Auret, who missed the cut in three previous events on the Asian PGA Tour this season, went on to shoot a two-under-par 68 to easily make the weekend play on one-under 139.

It was a score matched by Chinese ace Zhang Lianwei who shot a disappointing 72 yesterday. Zhang, who had hoped to make a bid to win the Hong Kong Open this year and thus overhaul Indian Arjun Atwal at the top of the Order of Merit, struggled. He began well with an eagle on the third hole but then his game fell away as he collected four bogeys.

'I just didn't have it in me today. I felt tired before my round and the eagle did not give me the boost that I had hoped for,' said Zhang. He lies nine shots off the pace.