BELLEAIR — Austin Ernst knew she hit a good shot off the back right tee on the 12th hole (147 yards) Monday evening in the Pelican Women’s Championship pro-am.
After the ball connected with her 8-iron, it arched in the air and bounced once on the green before dropping seamlessly in for a hole-in-one.
Sure, the 29-year-old was excited for the personal mark — the fourth hole-in-one of her career — but she was even more ecstatic for the prize she received out of it: a two-year lease on a new Lamborghini.
“I think this (hole-in-one) was the coolest,” chuckled Ernst on Tuesday.
And if Ernst does it again during Wednesday’s pro-am or tournament play this weekend at Pelican Golf Club, she’ll win another two-year lease. There’s no limit on how many leases will be given out to different players, either.
Ernst will get to choose the color of her new ride if she decides to keep it, but if she forgoes the gift, she’ll receive an unspecified cash prize.
Monday was the first day she had sat inside of a Lamborghini.
“It feels like it’s probably pretty fast,” she said. “I’m excited to take a little test drive.”
The Greenville, S.C., native said everyone on the course Tuesday was asking for a ride and tips on the 12th hole so they could have the same fortune.
“It’s a long list (of people),” Ernst said. “I think we’ll have to park it up (by the clubhouse) and get a line going.”
Ernst, who had four top-10 results (including a win) on tour last year, notched her first career hole-in-one during her freshman year at LSU in the 2011 national championships. She was the program’s first woman to win a title in its 32-year history.
LPGA Pelican Women’s Championship
Where: Pelican Golf Club, Belleair
Purse: $1.75 million
History: Sei Young Kim won the inaugural tournament last year.
Players to watch: World No. 1 Nelly Korda, Jin Young Ko (2), Sei Young Kim (4), Lydia Ko(5), Yuka Saso (6), Nasa Hataoka (8), Brooke Henderson (10), Danielle Kang (11), Patty Tavatanakit (12), Lexi Thompson (13).
Coverage: Live, 10 a.m. Thursday-Friday, Golf Channel. Live stream, 1-4 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, nbcsports.com. Taped, 7:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, Golf Channel.