BY MIKE FIELDS
NICHOLASVILLE – When Joe Muschong signed up as a caddy for the Barbasol championship, little did he know he was going to end up in the spotlight as a local star.
But that’s what happens when you’re looking for a guy to flirt with shooting that magical number – 59 – in a PGA TOUR event.
Muschong, a Lafayette High School graduate who now plays golf at Morehead State, said it was sheer luck that he found James Hahn’s bag for the Barbasol.
“He just called the golf shop on Keene Run looking for a caddy,” said Muschong. “I teamed up with him and was lucky.”
Flash ahead into the third round on Saturday as Hahn put together the lowest lap of his career and two strokes behind leader JT Polson, who heads into the final round on Sunday.
After pars on the first three holes, he went down 7-under on the next seven holes, highlighted by an eagle on the fifth par-5.
Hahn got two more birdies at 13 and 14 and stood up for Eagle at 15.
Then he looked at the leaderboard and was surprised by what he saw.
“It said I was under for day 11,” he said. “I checked my scorecard because I didn’t know I was that far down the line.”
Then 59 came to mind.
A birdie at 17 made it possible; a birdie at 18 would make it a reality.
But it shouldn’t be. His approach shot twisted back 20 feet, leaving him a 30 foot uphill climb. It gave it a good run, but it slipped past the mug. Nevertheless, the crowd gave him a rousing ovation.
How magical would a 59 have been for Hahn? (Only 12 golfers ever broken 60 in a PGA TOUR event)
“That’s the unicorn, right?” he said. “That’s the one everyone wants to haunt you. That scorecard is probably not hanging on the wall. 59? You can tattoo that on my forehead, that would be pretty cool. “
Muschong, who found himself in front of TV cameras and reporters after the round, certainly thought that was cool. Especially when you consider that this is the first time he’s been a caddy in a professional tournament.
“Oh man, it was so much fun. It’s different to be on this side of the bag, ”said Muschong. “He did the work. I just had to keep up.
“It’s a bloody experience. You learn so much out here. It’s priceless. “
Muschong has been with Keene Run for six years, so he knows the tracks. He shared his knowledge of champions with Hahn during the training rounds on Monday and Tuesday.
“Then he got a really good feel for the golf course,” said Muschong.
Hahn said he and Muschong had “hit it off” from day one.
“He helped me this week. He kept me cool. He’s very talkative, which is nice because it relaxes me a bit. “
“To experience that with him as a local was something very special for both of us.”