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Asham closest to hole for second year in a row

Don't try to beat Farrol Asham on his home turf.
Farrol Asham grimaces after his final shot in the million-dollar hole-in-one challenge July 11 but it was still the closest to the hole, even if it didn't win him any money.

Don't try to beat Farrol Asham on his home turf.

Asham, the course superintendent of the Thompson Golf Club, put his final shot within 33 yards of the pin on the first green from 153 yards out at the fourth-annual million-dollar hole-in-one challenge final July 11, winning the opportunity to represent Thompson in the Northern playdown in two weeks' time.

Asham beat Michael McGurk, who landed 40 feet, nine inches from the flag and Ron Mymko (52 feet, nine inches) in the final, as well as Geoff Lamontagne and Ron Dodge, whose final shots failed to make the green.

Fifty finalists gathered at the Thompson Golf Club's first hole for the semifinals, with the closest 10 shooters from each of the event's five days having a chance to make the finals.

Semifinalists had three shots each, while in the finals it was an all-or-nothing single-shot event.

The million-dollar annuity awarded to anyone who hits an ace in the final round went unclaimed for the fourth year in a row. The semifinalists couldn't cash in on their prizes either - $32,000 for a first shot ace, $16,000 for one on the second shot and $6,000 for sinking it on the third attempt.

Asham will have another shot at the million dollars July 26 in The Pas, where winners from the events in The Pas, Thompson and Flin Flon square off for the chance to advance to the national final in Whistler in September.

Sponsored by 610 CHTM and the Rotary Club, the million-dollar hole-in-one challenge is a fundraiser, with this year's proceeds earmarked for a new wolf enclosure at the Thompson Zoo.

Qualifying rounds were held at Centennial Park and organizer Tom O'Brien said 30,000 golf balls were bought and shot over five days, with none landing in anybody's yard or pool for the first time in the Thompson event's four-year history.

Nine aces were recorded in the qualifying rounds, in which competitors shot at a hole just 100 yards away.

Lamontagne had two, becoming the first competitor in the Thompson event's history to record that feat. Brenda Laycock had a hole-in-one too, the first woman to record an ace at the Thompson challenge.

Other competitors who qualified with holes-in-one included finalists Dodge, Asham, McGurk and Mymko, as well as William Stratton, Maurice Lambert and Leon Benson.

The players who recorded aces received t-shirts commemorating their feat prior to the start of the semifinals.

Asham's shot was slightly further from the hole than last year's winning strike, which landed just over 25 feet from a hole on the Thompson Golf Club's driving range.

In the first two years of competition, the finals were also held at Centennial Park.

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