Bohn commands attention on Fourth

By Mitch Vingle
Published on

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. -- Two servicemen stood at attention on the 18th green at the Greenbrier's Old White TPC course here Saturday.

They were handling the American flag, which flew on the hole's pin on Independence Day.

And while they stood at attention, Jason Bohn was commanding attention.

Related: Greenbrier leaderboard | Round 3 photos

Like the seemingly unending clouds, he hit No. 18 rolling at 8 under for the day. Under a sprinkle of rain, Bohn addressed his ball and stuck it within 8 feet and 5 inches from the hole.

The crowd at No. 18 was hoping for $1,000, which was to be awarded to all for a hole in one. Bohn, meanwhile, was trying to finish in grand fashion.

Then, after playing partner Will MacKenzie made way, Bohn did just that. He recorded yet another birdie, his 10th of the day, and smiled as the wind began to pick up.

"Good round!" someone yelled.

"Thank you," he replied, as the grin got wider.

It was well-deserved. Whatever happened before and after the round, Bohn had a 61 in the books. A 61.

"He was throwing darts," said volunteer/walking scorer Dan Sizemore. "He was in the rough one time. Otherwise, it was fairway, green, fairway, green. All day."

Consider Bohn's day. The cut after Friday's action was 2 under. Bohn was at 2 under. He had to birdie his last hole just to make that cut. And yet when the former University of Alabama golfer walked off the course Saturday, he was at 11 under and in the lead.

That's how you set off fireworks on the Fourth of July.

"I didn't know but I just found out that was my career best," Bohn said. "Ten birdies and one bogey. I kept my golf ball in play. I played from the fairway pretty much all day ... I kind of felt very comfortable with the putter today, too, and made a lot of putts."

Maybe Bohn is comfortable because, although he lives in Acworth, Georgia, he was born in Lewisburg. (OK, so it was Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.) Then again, maybe he just feels comfortable because it's the Old White.

Last year, Bohn finished with a round of 65 and finished in a tie for 11th place at 8-under.

"It was a solid week last year," Bohn said. "My family and I really enjoy The Greenbrier. It's a fun place to be, so it's nice to be out here on the weekend."

Especially after last week. At the Travelers Championship, Bohn bogeyed four of the last five holes on Day 2 and missed the cut. This week, he rallied to make the cut and then parlayed that into Saturday's monster round.

"The golf course this morning was fairly benign," Bohn said. "We didn't have a lot of wind. When you go off that early, the greens are perfect. I mean, this is a golf course where you can make a lot of birdies if you're in play, and if you're out of play you're struggling to make par ... I just wanted to sleep in [Sunday] to be honest. Now I don't have to get up early in the morning."

The smile appeared again. And you see it a lot -- with good reason.

As we reported last year, Bohn won $1 million in a hole-in-one shootout when he was at Alabama. He was an amateur, though, and had a choice to make: accept the money and give up that status or turn down the money.

He did what most of us would. A check for $50,000 showed up each year until 2012. He used it to make a run at a PGA Tour card.

"You never know," he said. "One swing can change your life."

Call him the poster boy for the throngs here at No. 18 hoping for an ace. He's made $13.7 million in career earnings. Also, he was trying to make Greenbrier resort owner Jim Justice dig into his deep pockets.

"To birdie [No.] 18 was the thing [Saturday]," Bohn said. "To be honest, I wanted to hole it because I wanted everyone to get a thousand bucks ... It's possible, actually. You can hit it left of that hole and it's going to funnel down in there. Hopefully, all these people get rich."

So, yes, he was going for the ace. My question, though, was whether, even in the back of his mind, Bohn was shooting for the rare 59, recorded here the first year of the event by Stuart Appleby.

"No," Bohn said. "I never thought I could get to 59. A 59 doesn't creep into my brain very often ... No. Yeah, a 59 is a low number out here."

Indeed, it is. But the 6-foot, 42-year-old golfer got around the front nine in 29 strokes. You do the math.

Wearing a red, white and blue shirt, he was rockin' in the USA Saturday. He was doing so at the self-proclaimed America's Resort. And he was doing so on the Fourth.

Which commanded everyone's attention here Saturday.

This article was written by Mitch Vingle from The Charleston Gazette, W.Va. and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.