Six was the key number for Jason Buha at the Dayton Open.
Buha eagled the sixth hole for the third time in four days en route to a 6-under-par 66 and a three-shot victory July 14 at The Golf Club at Yankee Trace. It was the first Buy.com Tour victory for Buha, who finished at 23-under 265.
“Everyone kept saying that the eagle on six was a key hole. It’s driving me crazy,” said Buha, who birdied the 565-yard hole Thursday and then followed with eagles on his next three trips. “Yeah, if you look at the four days, it helped me a lot.
“Honestly, I think the birdie at seven (Sunday) was even bigger. With 12 holes to play, there were other golfers on that golf course other than Todd Barranger and I knew that. You can’t just putter it in on this golf course. You have to keep your head down and make birdies.”
Defending champion Barranger (67) and Marco Dawson (66) finished tied for second at 268.
“It’s everything I thought it’d be,” Buha said of his victory. “It’s awesome. What a great feeling. It was a blast out there. I’m delighted. I’m excited. I’m hoping I’m not stopping here. I want this feeling more.”
Buha, 27, had some chances earlier this year. He had a two-shot lead after three rounds of the SAS Carolina Classic in May, but shot 78 in the final round to tie for sixth. Buha also was in contention at the Virginia Beach Open (tie for sixth) and the Richmond Open (tie for third).
“I learned a lot about myself today,” Buha said. “Raleigh was a little different in that I probably played too conservatively. I hit a few loose shots and missed every putt that was makable. The story was different today. I was making putts I had to make. . . . I’m certain that had a lot to do with my frame of mind. I was calm and quiet. I let things happen and let it come to me.”
Barranger, who shot a tournament-record 262 last year, was two behind Buha starting the day. “I had my chances at times to catch him,” Barranger said. “I never made that key putt to get close to him to put a little pressure on him.”
Buha nearly holed his sand wedge from 105 yards on No. 18.
“There’s nothing better than tapping in a 10-inch putt for birdie on the last hole to win by three,” said Buha. “But that was icing on the cake. My mind is cluttered with memories. I have so many good memories of this week.”