Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

July 7, 2014

Golfers swing two holes-in-one during final day at Classic

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS — For at least a while, there were lots of golf fans cheering “Roll Tide” along the 18th hole on Sunday.

That might change when Alabama plays West Virginia on the gridiron in August, but Bud Cauley did make an awful lot of folks $100 richer with a hole-in-one on the final hole.

A product of Alabama, Cauley aced the 175-yard par-3 18th hole to complete a sterling 6-under par 64 during the final round of The Greenbrier Classic.

That shot earned each spectator watching at the time around the 18th hole a $100 bill.

“It was a great way to finish,” Cauley said. “It was a pretty good club for me. I had good yardage, just a nice little cut 7-iron in there and made a good swing.”

Real good.

Cauley knew it went in by the huge roar from the crowd, the second hole-in-one of the day. George McNeill also collected an ace on the 234-yard 8th hole on his way to a Sunday-best 61.

“I mean it looked good in the air and then it landed,” said Cauley, who narrowly missed another ace on that hole earlier in the week, leaving a shot six inches short. “I thought it was going to be pretty close, but just kind of judging off everyone else’s reaction.

"I didn’t know it went in at first. Obviously you never think they’re going in, but that was a nice surprise.”

One PGA Tour pro who witnessed the shot was 64-year-old Tom Watson, the pro emeritus at The Greenbrier, and winner of eight major championships.

Watson, who was playing in the group behind Cauley and playing partner Justin Leonard, had hit his second shot on 17 onto the green while they were still putting out. He was hurrying up to apologize for that “no-no” when the shot went in.

“I hurried up there, and I got up to the side of the 18th tee, and watched,” said Watson, who immediately shook Cauley’s hand after the shot dropped. “Watched the shot go out and I was like ‘Man, that looks pretty good. That looks real good.’

“All of a sudden the arms go up, touchdown, and I knew it was in the hole. It was a great shot.”

The fact that the fans around the hole would leave $100 richer was great too.

“A hundred bucks,” Watson said. “I mean this is great.”

The Greenbrier chairman and owner Jim Justice quickly made good on his promise to those in the gallery around the final hole. He called for a bag of money and started handing out $100 bills.

“We started this a long time ago, we said we would give everybody in the crowd a hundred if they made the first hole-in-one, $500 on the second and a $1,000 on the third,” Justice said. “It creates a lot of excitement, I didn’t really expect it to happen, it costs me big bucks, that is all there is too it ... .

“We gave real money, I had to call them and they brought me a bag of money, and up in the stands I went.”

Justice was able to avoid having to give out even more money, which was fine with him.

“You probably won’t see me,” said a smiling Justice, when asked if he would be ready to hand out more money for another ace. “Maybe I will take the money and run.”

That hole-in-one will continue to give. Quicken Loans, which sponsored the Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge during the NCAA Tournament, is currently offering to pay the mortgage of one spectator for a year when there is a hole-in-one at any PGA Tour event.

There were two on Sunday, and two mortgages now being paid.

“That’s awesome. Whoever ends up benefiting from that, I am sure it will help out a lot and make a huge difference in their lives,” Cauley said. “That’s quite (nice) of Quicken Loans to be able to do something like that and help somebody out.”

“I would love to have a free mortgage for a year,” added McNeill, whose hole-in-one benefited California resident Janet Alexander. “Congratulations to Janet and thanks to Quicken Loans. That was the title sponsor last week up in D.C., and looks like it is going to be a great sponsor for a while.

“Congratulations to her and to Quicken Loans and thank you to them.”

Cauley, who finished with a 9-under par 271 for the four rounds and a seven-way tie for fourth place, certainly couldn’t think of a better way to finish up a tournament, even if he had no idea the perks he helped provide with the memorable ace.

“I wasn’t (aware of it), I actually just found that out,” said Cauley, who recorded his first top-10 finish since 2012. “So happy to help everybody out there, including myself.”

• • •

Justice was interviewed by Jim Nance of CBS Sports, and spoke of the impact the Greenbrier Classic has on West Virginia.

“It is the biggest tourism, economic, PR, economic impact event in the state,” Justice said. “It is just phenomenal, the spotlight it puts on the state, the number of people, the number of visitors.

“It is just absolutely unbelievable and the dollars we raise for charity, the neat things that go on, it is really great.”

So, according to Justice, is being a part of the Mountain State.

“I love West Virginia more than good sense, that is for sure. There is so much to offer here, “Justice said. “We have an unbelievable treasure in our people. They are loving, they are appreciative, they are great people, they are craftsmen and everything.

“It is a special place. We want everybody to come, everybody is welcome.”

— Contact Brian Woodson at

bwoodson@bdtonline.com

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