By Ian Ransom
MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Welshman Stuart Manley gave new meaning to the phrase "from the sublime to the ridiculous" at the World Cup of Golf on Saturday when he followed up an ace at Royal Melbourne's third hole with a septuple-bogey 11 on the next.
The 34-year-old Aberdare man, who clinched a European Tour card at qualifying school in Spain last week, soared into second place after holing his tee-shot on the 161-metre par-three, two strokes behind Danish leader Thomas Bjorn.
"I was just buzzing, the adrenalin was just pumping," he told reporters.
Having opened his round birdie-birdie-ace, Manley strutted up to the par-four fourth and after dunking his approach shot into a greenside bunker, sent his recovery shot speeding past the pin and off the back of the green.
A string of comical back-and-forth shots ensued before Manley finally landed the ball safely on the green but it took three putts from there to end the misery.
The 11 saw Manley fall from seven-under to even-par, plunging down the leaderboard to joint 16th.
Adding insult to injury, the Welshman appeared to be under the impression that he had won a Mercedes being offered as a prize for players that scored an ace on that hole when, after 'high-fiving' anyone within reach, he walked to a display car behind the tee and patted the vehicle.
Manley's triumph had come a day too early, however, with the car only being offered for aces in the fourth and final round on Sunday.
After marching to the green following his hole-in-one, he was quickly informed by a European Tour referee that he would not be receiving the car.
"I was pretty pumped up and I was on the green he told me 'no, unfortunately it's not going to count'. I was just devastated really," said Manley.
The Welshman, however, has shown determination throughout a 10-year professional career marked by the loss of a string of European Tour cards, and showed grit to bounced back with birdies on the sixth, 14th and an eagle on the 15th.
To complete the roller-coaster round, he finished with a bogey on the 18th to be one-over for the day and seven strokes behind leader Jason Day.
"Probably the highest of highs and the lowest of lows," he said. "The Aussie fans are pretty brutal.
"I felt pretty bad at the end but that's golf."
(Editing by John O'Brien/Amlan Chakraborty)