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Ace sends John off to 2020 Ryder Cup; Golf Dunblane golfer sinks prize ball in Portugal.

Byline: Donald Morton

Most golfers have to splash out on a round of drinks when they score a holein-one but for John Paton any such expense was well worth it, as his ace earned him a trip to the 2020 Ryder Cup.

The 62 year-old from Dunblane was on a golf trip to Portugal with seven friends who all attended Musselburgh Grammar School, when he holed out on the second hole at Pinheiros Altos' Corks course while participating in the Million Dollar Hole in One (MDHIO) challenge.

MDHIO's popular par-three challenge allows competitors to win a selection of golf-related prizes - from balls to pitch-mark repairers for landing on the green - while a hole-in-one at one of the 40 associated courses across Europe earns a once-in-a-lifetime trip and the chance to shoot for a $1m jackpot.

The 24-handicapper's maiden ace came on the 154-yard, parthree hole. Accountant Johnsaid: "We'd played at Vale do Lobo earlier in the week and we'd all paid our [euro]10 to play there without much success.

"I was the only one to do it at Pinheiros Altos, because I thought I could do with a new glove or some more balls. I'd lost quite a few.

"I hit a hybrid. It wasn't a particularly good shot. It didn't go high, but it was straight, and landed about 20m short of the green, bounced two or three times and just rolled up.

"I thought I might be on for some balls, but it kept on rolling. My friends were starting to get excited, because we could see it all the way. It was like it was in slow motion, it was surreal.

"I was just hoping it would stay on the green, but it rolled straight up to the cup and in.

"I was dumbfounded as I'm not really a regular golfer. It was marvellous. My mates were all going crazy.

"A lot of it is luck, so on a parthree it's worth taking part."

He is now looking forward to a trip to the 2020 Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits, Wisconsin, and the $1m shootout.

He added: "It's quite exciting, certainly different. It's not the sort of thing that comes along very often, if ever."

MDHIO, which has been running since 1990 in the USA and since 2000 in Europe, has steadily grown in popularity with more than 50,000 people each year trying their luck at various par-three holes at courses across Portugal, mainland Spain, Majorca and the UK.

Nearly 60 golfers have achieved their ace while playing MDHIO in Europe, while more than twice that number missed out by not entering and, subsequently, acing the hole.

Stirling Head pro Kenny Monaghan and club captain William McQuillan are competing in the SkyCaddie Pro/Captain Final 36-hole final in Majorca.

The duo, who recently won the Scottish qualifier at West Lothian to secure their place in the final, are up against nine other teams from the UK over the Golf Sun Muntaner course at Arrabella Golf Mallorca, playing yesterday (Tuesday) and today (Wednesday).

Club and committee members wish them well.

Bridge of Allan Results from last Saturday's Senior Gents Winter nine-hole Stableford: 1 Ian Smith 22 points; 2 Tony Jackson 21 points; 3 James McKenzie 21 points.

Dollar Skol Trophy (Saturday, November 3): Div 1 - 1 Neil Ronald 75 (11) 64; 2 Davey Cowie 76 (12) 64; 3 Drew Ure 78 (12) 66. Div 2 - 1 Alan Daly 81 (17) 64; 2 Douglas Caren 84 (16) 68; 3 Charles Norman 82 (14) 68.

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Ace John Paton's hole-in-one has earned him Ryder Cup tickets for 2020
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Stirling Observer (Stirling, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUPR
Date:Nov 7, 2018
Words:601
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