Bernie Hits First Golf Course Shot Of 2000 In Tonga – Original Article Located 21-Years Later

The  21st anniversary of my historic first golf shot of 2000 on a golf course has been located.  No sooner had I posted a reminder of my efforts 21-years ago and I went ‘surfing’ on the web and found my story.

The following 427-word article appeared in the Tuesday, 5th January, 2000 edition of the Daily Record.

Here is the link to the article and hereunder is the story.…-a060846340

BERNIE McGUIRE drove into the record books when he hit the very first golf shot of the new millennium.

Australian-born McGuire, who covers the European Tour for the Daily Record, was in the Pacific Ocean paradise island of Tonga to compete in the three-day Y2K Millennium tournament that started on December 29 at the Manamo’ui course – the most easterly in the world.

He turned up in total darkness at around 11pm on December 31 to guarantee he would play the first golf shot anywhere in the 21st century.

Two vehicles, with headlights on, were parked by the first tee to allow McGuire, who plays off a handicap of 18, to drive the ball from the opening tee just seconds after the stroke of midnight – 14 hours before the New Year was celebrated in Britain.

McGuire said: “Hitting the first golf shot of the new millennium was something I’d only really thought about once last year’s European Tour had concluded.

“But for anyone who enjoys golf and is involved in the golf industry, as I am, it was a special moment – but it’s also probably the first and last time you’ll find me on a golf tee at 12 midnight.

“Thankfully, with the help of car headlights we could see what we were doing and managed to achieve golfing history.”

McGuire’s special feat was witnessed by Tonga Golf Club members led by captain Paula Tupou and his wife Lesieli along with course greenkeeper Sione Wight.

They were joined 30 minutes later by surprised club members Frank and Colleen Cowley, who had hoped they would be the first on the course.

The 9-hole Tonga GC course and the most easterly golf course in the world. Image – Tonga GC

McGuire was then back on the tee just before dawn when he, along with Tupou, club secretary Michael Bloomfield and visiting American Bill Areson, set out at 6.35am in the first group for the very first official full round of golf of the New Year.

McGuire’s historic shot was one of several millennium firsts for the Tonga club.

Being the most easterly golf venue in the world, the par-35, nine-hole Manamo’ui course at Ha’ateiho on Tonga’s main island of Tongatapu was the place to be to beat the rest.

In addition to hosting the very first shot and game of 2000, it also hosted the first official golf competition and claimed the first hole in one.

David Kongaika ensured his place in golf history at 8.40am when he aced the 124-metre, par-four seventh.

And just a couple of hours later, Elina Maka was also celebrating when she too hit a hole in one at the seventh.

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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2000 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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