Talk about your swing of emotions. On Saturday – that's Friday night in the United States – Stuart Manley of Wales experienced one of the most dramatic swings of fortune I've ever heard of in golf.
During the third round of the ISPS Handa World Cup at Royal Melbourne, Manley strolled up to the 176-yard third hole, teed his ball, took a cut with his 8-iron – and made a hole-in-one. Elated, he patted the hood of a brand-new Mercedes-Benz perched nearby, thinking he had won it.
Sorry, Stuart. The car is only for a hole-in-one during Sunday's final round. Even so, the ace vaulted him up into a share of second place.
For a few minutes, anyway.
Manley then walked over to the par-4 fourth hole – and promptly made an 11.
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As described by Dennis Passa of the Australian Associated Press, here's how it happened:
Manley's second shot found a greenside bunker, and his third went off the back of the green. His chip rolled off the front of the green and into a gully.
From there, it took him four attempts to get the ball back on the green – it kept rolling back down to his feet. Once he finally got on to stay, he needed three putts to finish the hole.
That dropped him from second down into a tie for 15th.
It's all good for Manley, though. Ranked 364th in the world, he regained his European Tour card for 2014 at last week's Q-School in Spain, then dashed over to Australia. He had planned to play for Wales in the team portion of the World Cup, but his scheduled partner, Jamie Donaldson, withdrew with a back injury, forcing Manley to play as one of eight individuals in the 60-player field.
UPDATE: Manley slowly recovered with an eagle and birdie on the back nine to finish with a 72, and was tied for eighth. It was, he said, "the highest high to the lowest low."