Dr.Barry Turchen

Dr.Barry Turchen

Within 15 feet of $1 million at Abbotsford Rotary golf fundraiser

Marty Peters closest to pin in Hole In One contest, which raised $68,000 for Holmberg House

  • Jun. 8, 2014 1:00 p.m.

Tyler Olsen

Abbotsford News

With $1 million on the line, Marty Peters accomplished exactly what he set out out to do with his last shot Sunday at Fraserglen Golf Course: he didn’t duff the shot.

Actually, the 30-year-old Abbotsford commercial millwork salesman did better than that in the finals of the Rotary Club of Abbotsford’s Million Dollar Hole in One Contest. Although Peters didn’t send his ball 163 yards into the cup to win $1 million, he did take top spot by landing his shot 15 feet, six inches from the pin.

Peters, who was the second of the three finalists to take a shot at the pin, said he just tried to focus on making contact with the ball.

“I just didn’t want to hit a worm burner, he said. “I was just hoping for a connection so I was pretty happy it went in the air.”

Peters said he tries to hit the links every couple weeks, usually at Ledgeview Golf & Country Club and often scoring in the high 80s or low 90s. But Peters—who has never hit a hole in one—said nothing could prepare him for the tension and pressure that came with the dozens of onlookers watching his final shot.

“I was shaking like a leaf up there,” he said. “When you’re the only one shooting and you’ve got everyone watching, you can’t really practice for that. You hope to heck you hit the ball perfect.”

Peters was joined in the final by Dr. Barry Turchen, who finished second with a shot that came to a rest 25 feet from the cup, and Blair Coan, whose ball came up 31 feet, 10 inches short of the pin. The three had qualified from a semifinal grouping of 10 golfers, all of whom could have won $100,000 with a hole-in-one. Coan’s semifinal shot brought gasps from onlookers as it flew right at the pin, coming to a rest just five feet past the cup.

The event raised about $68,000 for the Abbotsford Hospice Society’s Holmberg House adult hospice. That included a donation of more than $20,000 from Abbotsford philanthropist Dave Holmberg Sr., who pledged to match all donations collected over $25,000. Over 14 years, the event has now raised nearly half a million dollars for Rotary projects including Holmberg house, which is named after Dave Holmberg Jr., who was 48 when he died of cancer three years ago.

“That’s not bad for hitting a bunch of balls,” Rotary’s Barry Champion said.

Before the final, Holmberg thanked the golfers and promised that the $12-million hospice would be completed soon. While it had originally been slated for completion this year, now-resolved financing issues have slowed construction. The Abbotsford Hospice Society still needs $4 million to complete the $12 million project, but Holmberg was confident that it would soon be finished.

“I assure you, it will be done by summer or fall of next year,” he said.

The Million Dollar Hole in One began last Saturday and ran through the week, with golfers taking aim at a pin 95 yards away. The top seven each day, plus five more randomly drawn golfers, qualified for Sunday’s quarterfinals. The last week saw 11 holes in one, including two by Brodie Williams. Turchen and Coan also both found the cup. Peters, meanwhile, got to hit Sunday thanks to the random draw.