Aces cost Greenbrier owner almost $200K

By Rich Stevens
Published on

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. -- Greenbrier owner Jim Justice played "Big Money Grip" at the Greenbrier Classic on Thursday.

Thanks to a pair of aces on No. 18, Justice awarded $192,400 in the Hole in One Fan Jackpot contest.

Greenbrier Classic: Leaderboard | Day 1 Photos

George McNeill's first-round ace on the 137-yard, par-3 hole resulted in each of the 189 fans on the hole receiving a $100 bill for a total of $18,900. Justin Thomas also aced the hole, which led to each of the 347 fans receiving $500 for a total of $173,500.

He also awarded $25,000 to the charity of McNeill's choice, and $50,000 to Thomas' favorite charity. The third hole in one would have resulted in each of the fans receiving $1,000. It didn't happen, but after Thomas' hole in one, there were an estimated 1,700 fans sitting in the risers and on the hillside waiting for the payout.

"There's not too many places that you can get in the position to do what Mr. Justice is doing, and it's really cool that he does that," Thomas said. "Here we go, more hole in one chances. But it just gives everyone more reason to come here and watch."

Additionally, many fans who weren't sitting on the hole, rushed past the rope before each group approached the tee to witness, and be awarded, for the fourth hole in one of the contest, which began last year.

McNeill's hole in one was the second of the Greenbrier Classic for him. He had an ace on the No. 8 hole in the 2014 Classic.

"It's interesting to say the least," said McNeill, who finished second last year, two shots behind champion Angel Cabrera. "I don't know what else you say about it other than there's a lot of luck involved. Obviously, you've got to hit a good shot, but there's a lot of luck involved for it to go in."

McNeill and Thomas used a pitching wedge for their aces.




TIGER WOODS rebounded nicely from a long swoon, shooting a 66 to sit at 4-under to sit in a tie for 12th entering Friday's second round.

His score was his best first-round performance since the BMW Championship on Sept. 15, 2013.

Related: Tiger shows importance of moving past bad hole

"It's more important (to get a good start) because this golf course, everyone is going to go low," said Woods, who had seven birdies. "It's more important for that. Everyone is going to shoot under par here it seems. The par 5s are somewhat reachable with it being soft like this, but overall if you drive the ball well here, you're going to have at least seven shots with a 9-iron below into the greens."

Woods missed the cut at the 2012 Classic by one stroke, shooting a 71 in the first round and a 69 in the second.


WOODS explained why he was in a good mood since arriving in White Sulphur Springs.

"The people here are fantastic," Woods said with a widening grin. "They treated me with so much respect and kindness the last time I was here. It was nice to come back to a very friendly place. They love their sport."

The 39-year-old 79-time winner on the PGA Tour is one of 15 players at 4-under and one of 95 players who shot 69 or better.


HURRICANE dentist and amateur Sam O'Dell shot a 2-under 68, putting himself in position to become the second State Amateur champion to make the cut.

Bakerton's David Bradshaw, a seven-time State Open champion, finished even and acknowledged he'll need a good round on Friday to play through the weekend.

Jonathan Bartlett, a real estate executive in 2010 when he won the Amateur, made the first cut at the inaugural Classic.

This article was written by RICH STEVENS from Charleston Daily Mail, W.Va. and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.