A blind golfer from Market Harborough hit a hole-in-one during a tournament in what bookies are saying was a 20,000 to one shot.
Jim O’Brien achieved the impressive feat on the 139-yard sixth hole during the Peter Alliss Eye2Eye Challenge at Surrey’s Hindhead Golf Club.
The 71-year-old, who is fully blind, was playing with his sighted guide and fellow Kilworth Springs Golf Club member John Grindal at the tournament on Wednesday last week.
Jim, of Logan Street, told the Mail: “I’d been playing reasonably well when we got to the first par-three at the sixth.
“John said ‘I think you want your seven-wood’, so I took it and he set me up. I hit the ball sweet as a nut. It bounced in front of the green, then ran and ran.
“I was playing with four others and they were saying ‘that’s in the hole, it’s in the hole’. I was stunned, but thrilled.
“It’s every golfer’s dream to get a hole-in-one.”
Jim, who has been playing golf for 16 years, believes he is only the third totally blind player in the world to ever hit a hole-in-one.
Bookmakers Ladbrokes told the Mail they would have quoted odds of 20,000 to one on Jim achieving the feat ahead of the tournament.
Jessica Bridge, from Ladbrokes, said: “It’s an incredible achievement for any one to hit a hole-in-one, let alone for someone who is visually impaired.
“We’re just glad Jim didn’t have a few quid on himself!”
Jim kept the ball afterwards and Thornton’s Jewellers in Coventry Road, Harborough, has said it will mount it on a plinth for free as a memento.
Jim’s coach Anders Mankert and the England and Wales Blind Golf Association have been among those lining up to congratulate Jim on the achievement.
Jim, who is a regular at the Mail’s annual sports awards, added: “Everyone has been so generous and said how pleased they are for me. It’s been great.”
Meanwhile, another Harborough golfer hit a hole-in-one recently and has won a limited edition Hugo Boss watch. Ian Freestone (55) scored his ace on the 166-yard, par-three sixth at Harborough Golf Course.
The luxury German brand has been rewarding club golfers with an exclusive watch for every hole-in-one recorded during competitions since April 15.
Wilbarston man Chris Crowther also won a Boss watch after achieving the same feat back in May.