British sports television presenter Dan Walker came ‘Oh So Close’ to winning $1,000,000 for charity, in a hole-in-one challenge at Close House.
His four-iron strike landed him within a metre of achieving the Holy Grail of golf during the Have A Heart Trophy MILLION DOLLAR CHALLENGE event held in aid of the Children’s Heart Unit Fund (CHUF), based in Newcastle.
Walker, who took the last shot of the day, said: “I decided to swap my trusty five-iron for a four as the ninth is such a tough hole.”
Many of his fellow celebrities balls fell victim to the hole’s notorious sloping green and rolledback into the awaiting lake that graces the stunning ninth hole on the Lee Westwood Colt Course.
Walker’s ball landed and rolled to within just two and a half feet of the pin. All 6’6’’ of the BBC man collapsed in shock at the tee box at the amazement of his shot – and the sudden realisation that he’d come so close.
Having posted a picture on Twitter of his near miss, Walker added: “need more muscles”.
His was the closest effort of the day, beating many professionals who all failed to even finish on the green at the course’s challenging signature hole.
More than 50 stars from the worlds of entertainment and sport layed a shot to win the amazing headline prize. Strictly Come Dancing star Anton DuBeke was in pole position for the nearest-the-pin prize for most of the day, until seven-handicapper Walker, swept him off his feet with the shot of the day.
The $1,000,000 headline prize was on offer courtesy of prize indemnity hole-in-one insurance company Worldwide Hole ‘N One, which worked with Close House on providing the Ultimate Challenge Prize for this amazing event in its fourth year.
Funds raised at The Million Dollar Challenge Golf Day and gala dinner topped £230,000 and they will go to CHUF at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital towards the building of a new multi-million pound parents’ accommodation block.
The owner of Close House, Graeme Wylie, whose young twin daughter Kiera’s life was saved following treatment at the unit after she was born in Dec 2009 with a rare heart defect, said: “Everyone had a great time and they have enjoyed the day. It is something I want to do as my daughter’s life was saved by the unit.”
Lee Westwood, Close House’s touring professional, also played in the event, helping to raise awareness for the popular charity, and was joined by CHUF patron Alan Shearer, BBC TV sports presenter Claire Balding, and Geordie duo Ant and Dec, who were fresh from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts awards in London. They jetted in straight from their celebrations keen and delighted to show their support for the CHUF charity, which is very close to their hearts.