19 April 2023

Rod Kafer achieves a hole-in-one at Vinnies fundraiser

| Tim Gavel
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Sia Soliola and Matt Millar

Event organisers Sia Soliola and Matt Millar. Photo: Facebook.

Rod Kafer played 12 tests for the Wallabies. He was part of the 1999 World Cup-winning squad and won titles with the Brumbies and Leicester.

But it’s probably fair to say, at the moment, nothing has given him a greater thrill than his $50,000 hole-in-one on the 198 metre, par three, 12th hole at Federal Golf Course for the Sleeping Rough Invitational Golf Challenge.

Playing with Queanbeyan professional Jake Nagle, Kafer, who plays off 10, pulled out a four iron and drove it towards the hole despite the distraction of music being played in the background to deliberately put him off his game.

READ ALSO Northside residential facility needed to tackle youth homelessness before it starts

According to those watching, Kafer didn’t realise where the ball had gone despite middling it beautifully. As it headed into the hole, Nagle said, “I think you have slam-dunked it.”

Kafer also didn’t realise that sponsors had put up $50,000 for a hole-in-one on two holes: the third and the 12th.

It capped off a couple of big days for the Kafer family. Son Ben made his debut for the Gungahlin Eagles on Saturday and played a key role in a win over Uni Norths.

But the big winner this week has been Vinnies Canberra/Goulburn with the charity golf day raising over $60,000.

two people on a golf course

The Federal Golf Course hosted the Sleeping Rough Invitational Golf Tournament fundraiser sponsored by O’Neill & Brown Plumbing, Fire & Electrical. Photo: File.

Organised by Federal Golf Club professional Matt Millar and formers Raiders star Sia Soliola, the pair had hoped to raise $30,000 through the golf day and dinner after O’Neill & Brown Plumbing Fire & Electrical jumped on board as a major sponsor, but were stunned by the result.

“We set a goal of $30,000 – to raise $60,000 is incredible,” said Matt.

The day was augmented through the support of the sporting community, including the Raiders and the Brumbies.

Such is its success, Matt Millar says it will become an annual event.

“People have already asked me to put their name down for next year. I have also been asked if we could make it bigger.”

With 145 golfers taking part, it is already one of the biggest golf days in Canberra.

Sia Soliola said the community support made it a special day.

“It was an awesome event. We were humbled by the support. It was a true Canberra event. When you plan these events, you don’t always know how they will turn out. The team at the Federal Golf Club did a great job.”

And for Sia and Matt, it was a case of the walking wounded as they worked towards the day.

Sia strained his hamstring 10 minutes into his first game for the Queanbeyan Kangaroos, while Matt continues to battle a back injury, which threatens his career.

Says Matt: “The charity day has been a good distraction, but I face a challenging 12 months as I seek some opinions on my back. I am keen to keep playing, and I’d like to play seniors on the Champions Tour in the US.”

Matt’s playing career will depend on the results of those opinions.

In the meantime, both he and Sia are rightly being lauded for the role they are playing in the wider Canberra community, for partnering up with Vinnies Canberra/Goulburn to help create awareness and raise much-needed funds to help fight the ongoing issue of people living homeless within Canberra, especially during the colder winter months.

Donations are still being accepted via Vinnies Golf Challenge.

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