Golfer denied new car prize for hole in one

FOX 5 I-Team investigates

Golfer denied new car prize for hole in one

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ATLANTA -

You don't have to know a lot about golf to know that hitting a hole in one is a big deal. It's every weekend hacker's dream. Top that off with a big prize like a luxury car, and you are having one heck of a great day.  

The I-Team's Dana Fowle says a local man had that kind of day, but it was day two when the hangover set it.

Jesse Speltz was playing in the TMA Turnaround Golf Tournament. It was a networking opportunity to make some business contacts. During the tournament, Speltz hit a hole in one. And by doing that, he won a fancy car.  However, claiming that prize seems to be harder than hitting the hole in one.

Speltz beat the 1 in 12,000 odds of making a hole in one. But he says it took a while for anybody to even realize it was a hole in one.

"Well, when I hit it, we thought it was on line, right at the flag, and we thought it might be good. And it bounced on the green and it kind of disappeared," said Speltz.

After his two scramble partners teed off they went down to see who was closest to the pin.  Speltz says he was surprised to find his ball wasn't on the green so he went looking for it.

"And I walk back up to the green, Chris is measuring his ball, then he says, ‘Dude, your ball's in the hole,' and that's when we went nuts," said Speltz.

Turnaround Management Association, a collection of bankers, accountants and lawyers who sponsored the tournament, congratulated him. Magnolia Golf Group, who managed the outing, posted this on Twitter: "Congratulations to Jesse Speltz for the #HoleInOne at the @TMA Turnaround Golf Tournament 2012."

But if getting a hole in one wasn't great enough, the prize was fantastic. It was a luxury car worth more than $42,000, and it couldn't come at a better time for Speltz.

"Two weeks before, yeah, my car died a slow death," said Speltz.

Twenty-four hours later, Speltz's hole in one turned into a bogey.

It was bad news. Tournament management had purchased an insurance policy to cover the rare chance of a hole in one. The insurance company denied the hole in one claim.  There would be no new luxury car sitting in Speltz's driveway.

"I was very surprised. They said they required two witnesses on the hole versus one that they had on the course that day," said Speltz.

Magnolia Golf Group management says it provided one witness. But, they say it was the responsibility of the tournament organizers to provide the second one. The I-Team tried repeatedly to talk with someone from Turnaround Management Association but without success.

As for that one witness, Magnolia Golf Group admits she didn't see what happened. They say she was in a cart because it was raining.

The I-Team talked to both of his teammates who played with him that day. They say Speltz, who they say they barely know, got a hole in one fair and square. But that's not good enough in the eyes of the insurance company or the tournament organizers.

"They offered a simple prize and I did what they said you needed to do to win the prize," said Speltz.

The tournament was held in May. As of July, Speltz still has no car.

Magnolia Golf group told the I-team the claim was denied, but the underwriter - Hole in One Clearing House - says that's not the case. They say they've asked the tournament organizers to explain why they didn't have two witnesses at the hole. So far they haven't heard back from anyone.

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