Have you heard the one about the New Zealander, playing out of Carnoustie, competing in his first Scottish Men’s Amateur Championship who holed two shots en route to the third round at Prestwick?
The 29-year-old hails from Invercargill but has been living in Scotland for the last four years, with his mum and dad both born here. Working out of the famous Auchterlonies golf shop in St Andrews, he has kept his eye in on the golf course ahead of returning to his native New Zealand next month.
That was never truer than at a rainy Prestwick where he produced the third hole-in-one of his golfing life at the second hole with a well-struck 8-iron, before holing from 145 yards with a 9-iron for an eagle at the 12th. His opponent, Smith, probably didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
“I felt sorry for Rory, I did,” admitted Balneaves. “It was a crazy day, I’ve never had anything like it in golf. I’m hitting it really good. I love the course, and it’s fun for matchplay.” He then joked: “Our weather back home is similar to here, so I’m comfortable in wind and rain!”