AARON Townsend didn't know whether to grab a seven-iron or something bigger.
He followed his instincts - and had the benefit of watching his playing partners hit - and went with the seven.
The result was a hole-in-one at the 163m par-three 17th at Twin Creeks in the third round of the NSW Open on Saturday and something to show his three-year-old son Thomas.
"I had a hole-in-one a couple of years ago in Japan, but that was the first in a big tournament in Australia," Townsend said. "The cool part about it was that I have made eight or nine in total but that was the first one that has been captured on footage.
"That was the biggest thrill, I was able to show my 3-year-old me hitting the shot and it going in. He thought it was amazing. He has some little clubs. Whenever I am watching golf on TV, he wants to go and get the clubs out. When I got home on Sunday, he asked me if I had another hole in one."
The ace may not have occurred if Townsend had been first to hit in the group.
"I probably wouldn't have hit that club," he said. "I was really unsure. After I watched the other guys, I convinced myself to hit the seven iron."
The ace was the highlight of a solid if not not sizzling week in which Townsend finished tied for 20th at eight-under.
"I started really well every day, but I couldn't keep the momentum going," Townsend said. "I always had a bit of a low patch and then it was hard to get back. Saturday was probably the worst I hit it of the four days and the hole-in-one saved it a little bit."
Though unable to "get on a hot streak" Townsend took plenty of positives from the NSW Open and believes his game is in good shape heading into the $1.5million Australian Open, starting Thursday.
The Parramatta-based 38-year-old is one of six Novocastrians alongside Andrew Dodt, Blake Windred, James Nitties, Nick Flanagan and Nathan Green teeing up at The Australian.
"The key this week will be being patient," Townsend said. "In recent years, it hasn't taken a really low score to win. It really is a mental battle. The golf course doesn't give you anything. You have to hang in. Pars are good. The course will be amazing and the greens will be firm and fast. If it gets windy, the scoring will be tough. I like that."
The top-20 placing moved Townsend to 26th on the order of merit and step closer to securing his Australasian card for next year.
"It would be good to get that wrapped up with a solid week," he said. "I had to go to qualifying school for the past two years. It was a shock to have to go back but I was fortunate that I won it the first year and finished fourth the next, so I got pretty good status out of it. That gave me confidence that I can still compete at this level."
* Branxton teenager Corey Lamb hopes to sign off on an outstanding junior career with victory in the Jack Newtown Junior Golf Champions Trophy at Bonville starting Wednesday.
"This will be my last junior event and it would be nice to go out with a win," Lamb said. "It's my fourth time up there and I haven't done very well in the past. You just have to hit the ball straight."
Joining Lamb in Coffs Harbour will be Harry Atkinson (Kurri Kurri), Jacob Dundas (Toronto), Jake Riley (Toronto), Joshuaa Robards (Newcastle), Josh Fuller (The Vintage) and Jasmine Vesper (Singleton).
"It's a decent field and will be tough to win," Lamb said. "Hopefully, I can play well."
The NSW Junior Champions enters the 54-hole tournament in form after winning the WE Alexander Open at Waratah on Sunday.
Lamb fired rounds of 71,67 to be at four under and beat Dave Alexander by three shots.
Robards was third on a countback at 142 from Riley and Michael Coutman.
Lamb and Riley rushed back from the NSW Open, where they failed to make the cut, to play at Waratah.
Lamb had rounds of 73,72 to miss the cut by a stroke.
"I learnt a lot from the experience of playing in the NSW Open," Lamb said. "It was my first pro tournament. I played good but a few bad shots cost me. In the second round I didn't sink any putts.
"Going back to Waratah, the greens were soft and slower. It was a lot easier and I was able to attack the pins more."
* Meanwhile, Victorian amateur Lukas Michel is trying not to think about a dream reconnaissance mission to Augusta National next week with his Australian Open debut looming.
Michel, 25, became the first Australian to win the US Mid-Amateur Championship in September.
The victor is afforded an invitation to the Masters at Augusta and the US Open.
The 104th Open starts Thursday at The Australian GC in Sydney, with Australian stars Adam Scott, Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith headlining alongside international drawcards Sergio Garcia and Ernie Els.
"I'm actually going to Augusta next week," Michel told AAP. "People always say the first time you see Augusta National is quite overwhelming so it will be good to get some of the awe out of the way and be focused when I tee off at the Masters in April."
Michel is determined to earn a good result at the Masters, his major championship debut.
"I'd like to set my goals high," he said. "Leading amateur would be nice and I'd obviously like to make the cut.
"Doing enough to get an invite back (via finishing in the top 12) would be an amazing result."