Golf: Rice delivers an ace

By Daniel Richardson of APNZ in Christchurch

Clint Rice of Australia walks after a hole-in-one on the 9th hole during day three of the New Zealand Open Championship. Photo / Getty Images,
Clint Rice of Australia walks after a hole-in-one on the 9th hole during day three of the New Zealand Open Championship. Photo / Getty Images,

Australian golfer Clint Rice might not win the New Zealand Open at Clearwater this weekend but he will always remember his trip to Christchurch this year.

The Tasmanian 32-year-old aced the testing par-three ninth during his third round at the Open today, which was the first hole in one of his golfing life.

Rice has played the game for 16 years - the last four of which professionally - but had never enjoyed that feeling of perfection before.

The ninth has statistically been the second-toughest hole at Clearwater throughout the week as it is surrounded by water and numerous players have ended up in the drink off the tee.

But Rice got the better of it as his six-iron from 177 metres went dead straight and rolled in, although he was slightly disappointed his ace didn't come on the 16th where players can win a car for a hole in one.

"I was only talking about it last night, I've never had one before in my life,'' Rice said after his round.

"I kept talking about it earlier this week, having my first hole in one and winning a car. I've had my first hole in one, but obviously not on the car hole.

"It is a brute of a hole. We had it downwind slightly today but nonetheless it is still a very tough hole.''

Rice signed for a three-under 69 today, which leaves him at one-over for the tournament but he had to play from the wrong side of the draw during the first two days when he got the worst of the conditions.

"To battle through that and be playing at the weekend is great,'' the OneAsia tour player said.

"It'd be good to get out reasonably early tomorrow and get a score on the board. That was the plan today.''

Rice is seven shots back from leader Mark Brown who has torn up Clearwater this afternoon and is seven-under par through 16 holes to be six under for the week.

- APNZ

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