Maybin times it just right for an ace

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 03 December, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 03 December, 2011, 12:00am


There was no gold bar waiting for him, but Gareth Maybin was more than happy to strap on an Omega Seamaster after his hole-in-one at the par three fourth hole yesterday.

The Northern Irishman aced the hole with his five-iron to pick up the stylish Aqua Terra timepiece, valued at HK$176,900, which he proudly put on his right wrist.

'I really wanted an Omega watch about two years ago, and I did well in Korea and went and bought one. Now I have two,' said the delighted Maybin, whose first-round 66 saw him begin two shots off the lead.

'I had 199 [yards] and it was a perfect number for my five-iron. It fell about 10 yards short and went in. I saw it all the way and went a bit crazy,' said Maybin on his second hole in one this year.

A couple of years ago, he might have been the proud owner of a gold bar worth more than HK$200,000. Sponsors UBS put up the prize for acing the 12th hole and the winners keep coming - Robert-Jan Derksen in 2005, Liang Wenchong the following year and Simon Griffiths in 2008. UBS then changed the prize to a donation to Operation Santa. Despite the lucky break on the third-toughest hole on the course - last year it claimed 84 bogeys and six doubles - Maybin scrambled home at three-over 73 and for a one-under 139 total at the halfway mark.

'I played poorly. I did well to shoot three over. I have a bit of work ahead,' Maybin said. 'I will try to regroup and play better this weekend.'

A good finish will all but ensure Maybin keeps his European Tour card next season.

'I'm right down the bottom [of the rankings] and I need to do well here to keep my card. But the big positive is I have made the cut, and I have got a watch too. If I can post a couple of good numbers this weekend, it will be great,' Maybin said.