A golfer from Carlisle could return from a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the Masters a million dollars richer.
Michael Kelly, 53, made his mark on the seventh hole of Vale do Lobo’s Ocean Course in the Algarve – one of Million Dollar Hole In One’s (MDHIO) 40 associated courses across Europe – to book his place in the grand final this weekend, where he will go head-to-head with six other competitors to shoot for a whopping $1m at a course near Augusta.
Kelly’s qualifying ace – his first ever – put 11 years of frustration behind him as he finally joined his son in the exclusive ‘hole-in-one-club’.
The finalists will jet off to America today, Thursday, April 11, 2019, for their action-packed long weekend – which will include exclusive events and parties – with all expenses covered by MDHIO.
Each finalist receives a day ticket to the Masters on Saturday, with the trip also including rounds at the Columbia Country Club and at The Reserve Club – one of South Carolina’s top courses – where they will also contest the MDHIO final on Masters Sunday.
Kelly, a retired police officer who is now a British Red Cross volunteer coordinator, said: “I’m really excited about the Masters trip, having the opportunity to attend Augusta and watch it live will be an experience of a lifetime!
“I’m realistic about the challenge of getting another hole-in-one to win a million dollars – after it taking me 40 years to get my first one – but it’s a nice feeling to be able to say I had a chance.
“MDHIO is great fun and €10 well spent. I’ve previously won a pair of sunglasses and a towel for landing on the green and now I’m fortunate enough to be going to my favourite golf Major. I’m so pleased I paid my €10 … I mean why would you not? Imagine if you hadn’t paid and you holed it!”
As it happens, more than 80 golfers achieved their ace while playing MDHIO in Europe over the years, while more than twice that number missed out by not entering and, subsequently, acing the hole.
The MDHIO challenge has been running since 1990 in the USA and since 2000 in Europe and sees more than 50,000 people each year trying their luck at more than 40 par-three holes on courses across Portugal, mainland Spain and Mallorca.
Each golfer pays €10 to enter and can also win a variety of golf-related prizes for landing on the green, with only the people that shoot aces invited to the trip and the MDHIO final.
The current MDHIO season is underway across Europe, with competitors shooting for the chance to win a trip to the 2020 Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits.
To discover where MDHIO can be played visit www.mdhio.net/golf-courses.