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Bayer wins The Championship at Berkeley Hills for second time

Jacob Bayer won The Championship at Berkeley Hills for the second time. The Collins Hill graduate shot a bogey-free 5-under 67, leaving him at 8-under 136.
Jacob Bayer won The Championship at Berkeley Hills for the second time. The Collins Hill graduate shot a bogey-free 5-under 67, leaving him at 8-under 136.

Jacob Bayer’s plans for the summer did not originally include golf. In an attempt to make some money, the Georgia Southern senior had lined up a job with a moving company. But that got old in a hurry, and Bayer was back to a regular golf routine in a few weeks.

On Tuesday, Bayer won The Championship at Berkeley Hills, an event sanctioned by the Georgia PGA, for the second time. The Collins Hill graduate shot a bogey-free 5-under 67, leaving him at 8-under 136. He became the first two-time winner in the tournament’s 11-year history.

Bayer finished three shots better than John Lichtenwainer of Young Harris College, who shot 66, and Richard Swift, an assistant professional at host Berkeley Hills, who shot 70.

Tied for fourth at minus-4 were Josh Edgar of Georgia State, Berkeley Hills member Stephen Kinsel of North Georgia University and professionals Matt Elliott of Achasta Golf Club and Robert Long of the King Prince Golf Club in St. Simons. Elliott’s round included a hole-in-one.

“Since I won that tournament in 2016, I’ve really been wanting to win it again,” Bayer said. “Especially with everything I’ve gone through the last few years, it’s been hard. I didn’t have my best golf game, but it’s good to see the hard work pay off.”

Bayer has had difficulties driving the ball and has worked through the problem with John Smith, the PGA professional Forest Heights Golf Course in Statesboro.

“He’s been working with me about keeping the ball in play,” Bayer said. “If I can do that it comes pretty easy to me. Driving is so key out here. I can overpower the golf course … all the par 5s are gettable if I hit it straight and I’m in position.”

He credited back-to-back birdies on No. 3 and No. 4, making a difficult 15-footer on the latter, helped him build momentum.

“That got me into the groove I needed and set the tone for the rest of the day,” he said.