If Gareth Maybin goes on to retain his European Tour card on Sunday night he may look back on the hole-in-one he scored in the second round of the UBS Hong Kong Open and thank his lucky stars.
The Ballyclare player, who could need a top 25 finish to be absolutely sure of keeping his card, drained a five-iron from 199-yards at the fourth en route to a second round 73 and literally jumped for joy into the arms of his caddie Basile Dalberto.
The hole-in-one, which was his second of the season and the fourth of his career, earned him a prize of an Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Annual Calendar watch worth at least €6,000.
To say it came in the nick of time is putting it mildly for a player who is ranked 120th on the money list starting the final regular event of the season and badly in need of a decent cheque to make the top 115 who will eventually keep their playing rights.
“I had 199, it was playing a hair downwind and it was a perfect number for my five 5 iron,” Maybin explained. “It landed about ten yards short, rolled up and went in. I saw it all the way and went a bit crazy on the tee but why not?
“Looking forward to getting the watch – I really wanted an Omega about two years ago and after I did well in Korea and went and bought one then, so looks like I have two now! I’ve had four in total - two this year, one in Holland and one here but this is definitely the best one!”
Maybin’s ace put him one under for the day and while he made a double bogey six at the next and played the back nine in two over 37, the feel good factor might must just convince him that lady luck is on his side this week.
“I played poorly today and did well to shoot three over. I’ll do a bit of work this afternoon and try to regroup and play better at the weekend. The double at the fifht was caused by just two horrific shots. I am looking forward to the weekend, posting a couple of good numbers and getting home for Christmas.”
Maybin is tied for 21st on one under par - six shots behind joint leaders Rory McIlroy (69) and Alvaro Quiros (69).
He may need a cheque for around €16,000 to keep his card and is guaranteed to make at least that if he remains inside the top 30.
Dubliner Peter Lawrie, who started the week holding down 60th place in the Race to Dubai standings, the last qualifying place for next week’s Dubai World Championship, looks well-placed to secure his goal after a second successive 69 left him tied for 17th on two under.
“It was difficult coming in here thinking so much about trying to keep in top-60 with everyone asking you about it,” Lawrie told European Tour Radio’s Nick Dye. “It’s hard to focus on this tournament rather than the Order of Merit. “The main goal was to come here and not get too tied up in it and to try and concentrate on this tournament and see what happens, knowing that if made the cut here I was going to go past at least one player (Scott Jamieson) so that’s at least one spot safer.
“Plus getting a few quid on the board will make more people have to earn it that little bit more to get past me so all in all, I am very pleased to get to two under after two days. The course is playing difficult, very cool this morning and very cool today so I am looking forward to the weekend… As long as three guys don’t pass me, we should be okay.”
Lawrie will also go past 59th ranked Christian Nilsson, who missed the cut, but he will be keeping a weather eye open for the likes of 61st ranked Stephen Gallacher (72), who is tied for 39th on one over and 65th ranked Bernd Wiesberger of Austria, who shot a 67 to move up to 21st on one-under.
Padraig Harrington is another man hoping to make a move but the 67th ranked Dubliner made the cut with just two shots to spare after taking 34 putts in a one over 71.
One under through the turn after following an opening bogey at the 10th with birdies at the 12th and 14th, Harrington bogeyed the par-five second and then closed with a bogey at his final hole for the second day in a row to lie in joint 39th on one over.
The three time major winner needs to earn over €50,000 to extend his season by another week but that will require a top-seven finish and he is six shots off that pace with just 36-holes remaining.
Michael Hoey and Damien McGrane both missed the cut but while Hoey (78-71) is sure of his place in Dubai as he is 21st on the money list, the Kells man (77-76) should hang on to his card.
At 114th in the money list, he is likely to lose a place or two but with three players set to be removed from the money list as they did not play the required 13-event minimum, he is likely to finish just inside the top 115.