As far as memorable birthdays go, Angus golfer Jamie Connelly can lay proud claim to having aced his landmark 21st.
Out for a round with friends to celebrate the milestone, birthday boy Jamie chose the perfect time to score his first ever hole-in-one.
And he couldn’t have asked for a more prestigious setting than Carnoustie’s world-famous Championship links where some of the game’s greatest players have dreamt of firing such a feat off the tee.
His achievement came in a remarkable couple of days at the legendary links with one visitor hitting an equally rare albatross at Hogan’s Alley – the Championship’s sixth hole which ranks as one of the most famous in the game.
Local golfer Jamie’s perfect shot came at The Whins, the 140-yard 13th on the Angus course where Francesco Molinari became the first Italian to win a golf Major last summer when he captured the Open Championship’s coveted Claret Jug
Jamie’s nine iron swing was matched by the ideal timing which saw his parents follow the flight of the ball into the hole as they enjoyed a walk on the links.
“A group of pals had organised to play for my birthday,” said Jamie, who caddies regularly at Carnoustie and was partnered by Tommy McDonald, Tommy Peebles and Dr Keith Allen for the round on his big day.
“It looked like a good shot from the moment I hit it, but you can’t actually see the hole from the tee.
“My mum and dad were walking round and they were up on the banking, so when I heard them shout I knew it had gone in,” said the delighted one-handicapper.
However, the unforgettable shot proved slightly costly for Jamie, who instead of being treated to birthday drinks by pals in the clubhouse had to put his hand in his pocket to buy the bottle of whisky for behind the bar of Carnoustie Golf Club in the best traditions of a hole-in-one celebrant.
He joked: “We were also playing for our usual fiver and after the 13th I was just trying to concentrate on winning that, but the competition was pretty tough so I missed out on that too.”
In a red hot couple of days on the championship links, international visitor Naveen Sandhu hit a driver and five-iron to make the hole on the par-five sixth in just two shots and bag the rarest of birds, a three-under-par albatross.
A feat that few, if any, amateur or professional golfers can claim to have achieved.
Congratulations to @naveensandhu, who impressively made a rare albatross on Hogan's Alley yesterday ⛳👏
In the hole ✅ pic.twitter.com/KFLJs9656N
— Carnoustie Golf Links (@carnoustiegolf) April 25, 2019
The hole is named after Ben Hogan, who won The Open at Carnoustie in 1953, and has been described by leading international commentator Bruce Critchley as a test which “sorts the brave from the golfing wimps”.
Carnoustie Golf Links Tweeted the impressive scorecard and golfers have praised Naveen for his skill on the famous test.