Castlecliff Golf Club's Tom Johns could not help thinking about what might have been after one of his delighted playing partners found his ball sitting underneath the flag of the 13th hole yesterday.
Johns, a 35-40 year veteran of the club, had just sunk his first 'Hole in One' on the par 3, despite having to adjust for the strong tail wind conditions and the sun obscuring his view of the hole when he took out his 6-iron.
But, alas, it was the Wednesday club round and not the Wellington Anniversary Weekend tournament four days earlier, when an ace would have won the Hole in One competition and a 2018 Suzuki Swift GLX, valued at $24,500.
"The right hole too, wrong day," Johns said.
"It's an awkward hole too, that's why they put the car on that.
"It sort of went out of sight. We looked and looked and couldn't find it, and I thought 'forget it'."
Johns believed the ball must have gone down the valley past the green, until one of his playing trio went over to inspect the hole.
"It must have rolled up," he said.
"I've been close with one before, it was about four inches [short].
"Just the luck of the draw, really, the right line.
"Pity it wasn't four days before."
There were five people still back at the bar when the three players finished their round to share the good news.
"Just a few handshakes and congrats," said Johns.
The ball had been taken away to be mounted and will be returned to Johns in around a week, as he made sure to pocket the prize, rather than fall into the trap of other golfers who kept playing with their magic ball and lost it later in the round.
It is the second recorded ace of 2019 after club mate Ken Read sunk an ace on the 4th hole on January 6.
There have been five aces sunk in the great Whanganui region since December 21.