Thursday, December 01, 2005

Week 14 Picks Posted!

Greetings OFL Players!

Week 14's Picks are now posted and are available on this link:

All updates for this week will be posted VIA this Blog.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


Greetings guys. Opie is on Vacation this week and I will be running the show.

First an Announcement -- Lance took a bath/shower prior to submitting his picks. He automatically gets 1 win less than the worst player this week. Hopefully someone will forget to submit picks and get zero wins, thus, Lance would LOSE 1 game from his current WIN total. LOL

Anyways, I will post any updates to how things are going here. The 3rd month is up for grabs too this week, with Brad Lebo holding a 2 game lead on Mike Flavin.

I will post the games to this link once the deadline passes:

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Pokerstars Blogger Tournaments

I am playing in the Inaugural Pokerstars Blogger Tournament today. Come watch me play, my screen name is pparazorback

Friday, October 21, 2005


Well guys, the season is complete. South Carolina won the Clayton Cup over Virginia, and we finished 3rd. Check back here for updates when they come available when we try to get our tour schedule together for the 2006 season.

Until then, I remain

Rick Rybaczek

Monday, September 26, 2005


September 24-25, 2005 - High Point, NC - The North Carolina PPA Tour contested its final event of the 2005 season, the North Carolina State Championship, on course # 2 in High Point, NC. The two-day, 144-hole event was played in nearly-ideal conditions, featuring moderate late-summer temperatures, overcast skies, and minimal winds. The scoring for the closed field of 35 qualifiers was accordingly much lower than it had been in tour events on the course in the past two years. Martinsville putting icon Randal Smith seized the first-day, 72-hole lead with a score of 100, with2005 PPA National Champion Jay Klapper in close pursuit at 101. As Smith and Klapper struggled in the opening round of second-day action, however, the tournament developed into a four-player shootout between Smith, Klapper, 2005 North Carolina PPA Tour Player of the Year Brad Lebo, and 2002 North Carolina State Champion Ray Guthrie. Lebo and Guthrie posted sizzling fifth-round scores of 22 and 23, respectively, to surge to within a stroke of Smith and Klapper after 90 holes. The four players jockeyed for position through the sixth and seventh rounds, with Smith heading into the final round with a 126-hole total of 178, one stroke ahead of Lebo and two shots ahead of Klapper and Guthrie. Playing several groups ahead of the other leaders, Lebo posted a final-round 23 for a second-day 72-hole score of 94 and a final 144-hole total of 202. Smith, unaware of Lebo's posted total of 202, had to make the last 5 Holes to force a playoff. Smith made the 14th Hole, but narrowly missed Hole #15 when his putt turned away at the last possible moment. Smith regrouped from that miss and made the final three holes but it was not enough to catch Lebo. With Smith's narrow miss on Hole #15, Lebo captured his first North Carolina State Championship title and his tenth victory of the 2005 PPA season. In the process, Lebo became the first professional to have won the North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia State Championships in a career. Smith notched runner-up honors with a 144-hole total of 203. Klapper finished in third position at 205, one stroke ahead of Guthrie, who finished alone in fourth at 206. Bunched at209 in a four-way tie for fifth position were Rick Rybaczek, defending champion Gary English, four-time North Carolina State Champion Bill Kirby, and Bob Haizlip. Rounding out the top ten in a tie for ninth place at 210 were 2003 North Carolina State Champion Vince Batten and PPA Hall of Fame member Daryl Freeman.
Action began with nine players completing the first round in a tie for the lead at 26. Bunched atop the opening-round leader board were Lebo, Klapper,Rybaczek, Haizlip, Batten, Billy Caudle, Lee Witcofski, 2005 Elton Davis Memorial Champion Lance Perdue, and 2005 Carolinas' Open Champion Randy Reeves. Another stroke back in a three-way tie for tenth position at 27 were 2001 PPA National Champion Greg Ward, Bear Landin, and Randy Carter.The top of the scoreboard remained closely-packed after 36 holes. Lebo posted a second-round 24 to move into sole possession of the 36-hole lead at 50. Batten and Klapper shared second position after two rounds at 51. Tied for fourth place at 52 were Perdue and Randal Smith, who rebounded from an opening-round 29 with a second-round 23. Haizlip, Freeman, Tony Varnadore, and Caudle hovered three strokes off of the lead, tied for sixth place at 53.Firing respective third-round scores of 24 and 25, Smith and Klapper seized tournament co-leadership after 54 holes at 76. Caudle posted a third-round 24 to soar into third place at 77. Another stroke back of the leaders in a tie for fourth place at 78 were Lebo and Varnadore. Sharing sixth position at 79 were English, Batten, and Perdue.
Smith continued his torrid pace in the fourth round, and by virtue of a fourth-round 24 took the lead at 100 at the tournament's halfway mark. Klapper stayed close to the lead with a fourth-round 25, finishing the firstday of competition in second place with a 72-hole total of 101. By shootingfourth-round scores of 24 and 25 respectively, Rybaczek and Varnadore moved into a tie for third position at 104. Deadlocked in a fifth-place logjam at106 were English, Batten, Ward, and Perdue.
Continued ideal playing conditions greeted players as the second day of the tournament began. Many players took advantage, as field scoring was significantly lower than that of the event's first day. Smith and Klapper posted respective lackluster fifth-round scores of 29 and 28, allowing the field to close the gap on the first-day leaders. Smith and Klapper still shared the lead after 90 holes at 129. Lebo and Guthrie crafted spectacular respective fifth-round scores of 22 and 23 and pole-vaulted into a tie for third position at 130. Ward's fifth-round 25 moved him into sole possession of fifth place at 131. Caudle and English hovered another stroke back in a sixth-place tie at 132.
Lebo and Guthrie continued their blistering second-day pace in the sixth round, with each player shooting a sixth-round 23. Smith rebounded with a sixth-round 24. Smith, Lebo, and Guthrie shared the 108-hole lead at 153. Klapper and English remained within striking distance, tied for fourth place at 157. Another stroke behind the leaders in a sixth-place tie at 158 were Rybaczek, Kirby, Freeman, and Varnadore. Kirby and Freeman posted brilliant respective sixth-round scores of 23 and 22 to surge into contention.
By firing a seventh-round 25, Smith regained sole possession of the lead after 126 holes at 178. Lebo stood in second position at 179. At 180, third place was shared by Guthrie and Klapper, who climbed back up the leader board with a seventh-round 23. Rybaczek posted 24 to move into a tie for fifth place with English at 182. Still clinging to title hopes in a tie for seventh place at 183 were Kirby, Haizlip, and Batten.
Playing several groups ahead of the other seventh-round leaders, Lebo set a torrid final-round pace by acing 13 of the first 17 holes. With the other leaders just completing the front nine, Lebo gambled that his 13-under par score would be enough to ensure at least a play-off and accordingly played alay-up shot on the challenging 18th hole to guarantee a tap-in deuce putt. Lebo's eighth-round 23 gave him a second-day 72-hole total of 94 and a final144-hole total of 202. Guthrie faded several strokes out of contention late on the day's final nine. Smith's ace on Hole #14 coupled with Klapper's pro-side miss on the same hole tied both competitors, with both having a chance to ace out the final 4 holes to tie Lebo's posted 202. Smith's ace putt narrowly missed when it turned away at the last moment on the 15th hole, and Klapper's ace attempted stopped short of the hole. Smith promptly made the 16th and 17th Holes and Klapper only made the 17th Hole to get to within one of Smith. Smith at that point asked where he stood versus Lebo and found out that an Ace would not be good enough. Smith, with a little disappointment showing in his face, now knew that he could not win but knew that an ace would clinch the Runner-Up honors. Smith stepped on the tee and hit a perfect putt that went in center cup to clinch 2nd place with an 85-under par 203. Lebo captured his first North Carolina State Championship and tenth victory of the 2005 PPA season. Smith finished a stroke behind Lebo at 203, earning runner-up honors. At 205, Klapper finished alone in third place. Guthrie's 206 placed him in fourth position. Bunched in a four-way tie for fifth place at 209 were Rybaczek, English, Kirby, and Haizlip. Tied for ninth place at 210, Batten and Freeman rounded out the tournament's top ten finishers.
The final roster for the North Carolina PPA Tour's Clayton Cup team was determined at the conclusion of the North Carolina State Championship. The tour's team members will include Rybaczek, Smith, Guthrie, Landin, Carter, Perdue, Kirby, James White, English, and Caudle. The team elected Rybaczek and Smith as co-captains.
In the amateur division, a field 14 qualifiers vied for the North Carolina State Championship in a 108-hole event also contested over two days. 2004 APA National Champion Ricky D. Schults, 2005 North Carolina APA Match Play Champion Frankie Peters, and 2005 Champion Jeff Carr participated in a tournament-long roller coaster battle for the title. With a brilliant final-round 21, Schults finally broke away from the other two players to earn his first North Carolina State Championship title with a 108-hole total of 153. Peters and Carr finished tied for second place at 160, with Peters defeating Carr in an 18-hole play-off for the second-place hardware. 2003 APA National Champion Bonnie White finished alone in fourth position at 164. With a stellar second-day performance, local player Mark Lawson rounded out the top five finishers at 168.
As play commenced in the amateur division, Schults fired a sparkling opening-round 24 to take the first-round lead. Carr assumed second position at 26. Tied for third place at 27 were Peters and White. Caleb Kennedy and Larry Hoover shared fifth place at 29.
Carr's second-round 28 was enough to pole-vault him into the 36-hole lead at 54. Schults cooled to a second-round 31 and dropped into second place at 55. White lurked in third position at 57. A four-way fourth-place logjam at 59 included Peters, Lawson, Hoover, and local APA standout Keith Waters.Carr continued his steady play in the third round, firing 26 to take the 54-hole lead at 80 at the end of the first day of competition. Sharing second position at 82 were Schults and Peters, who posted a spectacular third-round 23. White stood alone in fourth position at 84. At 87, Hoover hovered in fifth place at the end of the first day of action.
As the second day of play opened, Peters came out hitting on all cylinders, posting a sizzling fourth-round 23 to surge into the 72-hole lead at 105. Carr dropped to second place at 106. Schults held third position at 107. With a solid fourth-round 24, White crept into contention, in fourth place at 108. At 113, Hoover remained in fifth place.
With a fifth-round 25, Schults regained a share of the lead after 90 holes, moving into a first-place tie with Peters at 132. In solo third position, Carr clung to title hopes at 135. White held fourth place at 137. Kennedy posted a fifth-round 24 to soar into fifth place at 139.
With the competition at the top of the leader board having been very close for five rounds, Schults removed any drama from the final outcome of the tournament by the midpoint of the last round. Schults' front-nine 10 left the other players fighting for runner-up honors. Schults crafted a brilliant final-round 21 to set a new single-round course record and capture his first North Carolina State Championship title by seven strokes at 153.
By virtue of a final-round 25, Carr regained a share of second position, tying Peters at 160. Peters defeated Carr in an 18-hole play-off to win the second-place plaque. White finished alone in fourth place at 164. Lawson's sixth-round 26 allowed him to leapfrog into fifth place at 168. Posting respective totals of 169 and 173, Kennedy and Hoover garnered the final amateur expense reimbursement spots awarded in the tournament.
The final roster for the North Carolina Tour's APA Hancock Cup team was determined at the conclusion of the North Carolina State Championship. The North Carolina Hancock Cup squad will include Hoover, Chuck Nance, Peters, Kennedy, Lawson, and White. The team elected Hoover and Nance as co-captains.Following the conclusion of play on the first day of competition, the North Carolina PPA Tour held an awards banquet for the 2005 season. Plaques were presented to professional and amateur winners of each tournament on the tour's 2005 schedule. North Carolina PPA Tour 2005 Player of the Year Awards were presented to Brad Lebo in the professional division and Ricky D. Schults in the amateur division. Determined by a vote of the North Carolina PPA Tour Committee, 2005 Sportsmanship Awards were presented to two very deserving Asheboro stalwarts - professional Bear Landin and amateur Mark Lawson.The North Carolina PPA Tour would like to extend thanks to course manager Chris Grainey, host PPA professional Randy Carter, and their staff for welcoming the tour to the beautiful High Point, NC Putt-Putt facility and hosting a very successful championship weekend. The North Carolina State Championship concluded the 2005 North Carolina PPA Tour schedule. The North Carolina PPA Tour's ten-member professional Clayton Cup and six-member amateur Hancock Cup teams will represent the tour in the Clayton Cup and Hancock Cup team tournaments to be contested on course # 1 in High Point, NC on the weekend of October 15-16.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


11 September 2005 - High Point, NC - On a hot, sunny late summer day, a closed field of 24 qualifiers vied for the North Carolina PPA Match Play Championship on course # 2 in High Point, NC. The event featured a double elimination format, with 36-hole matches in the winners' bracket and 18-hole matches in the losers' bracket. First-round byes were awarded to the first eight players to earn spots into the event. Defending champion Michael Hitt won the second of the previous day's two events, the Wayne Hancock Memorial tournament, and in the process established a new 54-hole course scoring record of 71. Hitt continued his stellar play in the North Carolina Match Play Championship, posting a 6-0 match record for the day to earn his second consecutive title in the event. The 36-hole final match featured the winners of the previous day's two 54-hole events, as Hitt scored a 2&1 victory over Brad Lebo, who won the previous day's Barbara Nance Memorial tournament. Hitt defeated James White, Randal Smith, Randy Reeves, 1997 North Carolina Match Play Champion Rick Baird, and Lebo twice en route to the victory. Hitt joined Mike Brown and Ray Guthrie as the only two-time winners of the tournament and became the first player ever to defend successfully in the event. Randy Orr and Rick Rybaczek finished third and fourth, respectively.

In the amateur division, a field of twelve contestants also played a double elimination format. Four first-round byes were awarded to the top four amateurs in the North Carolina PPA Tour amateur points standings. After losing to Caleb Kennedy in the fourth round, third-seeded Frankie Peters, APA winner of the previous day's Barbara Nance Memorial tournament, won the losers' bracket and subsequently defeated Kennedy twice to earn his first North Carolina Match Play Championship title. Peters dispensed of fellow-local player Kennedy 2&1 in the first match and then posted a convincing 6&5 victory in the final match of the day. The Spartanburg, SC duo of Ricky D. Schults and Chris Alley finished in third and fourth positions, respectively.

The North Carolina PPA Tour would like to extend thanks to course manager Chris Grainey, host PPA professional Randy Carter, and their staff for welcoming the tour to the beautiful High Point, NC Putt-Putt facility and hosting a very successful weekend of tour events. The North Carolina PPA Tour will return to High Point, NC course # 2 in two weeks for its final event of the season, the two-day, 144-hole 2005 North Carolina PPA State Championship. Action will begin at noon on Saturday, September 24 and at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, September 25.


10 September 2005 - High Point, NC - Seven two-player teams contested the North Carolina PPA Teams Championship over the course of two separate 54-hole tour events held consecutively on the same day on course # 2 in High Point, NC. Each team totaled the better of each of six nine-hole scores from the day's morning event, the Barbara Nance Memorial, and added that score to the combined total scores of the two team members in the day's afternoon event, the Wayne Hancock Memorial. The resulting 162-hole score gave each team its final total. Vince Batten and Brad Lebo entered the afternoon tournament at 80, trailing morning leaders Randal Smith and Junior Sigmon by a stroke. As the morning leaders faded, Batten and Lebo held off furious charges by the teams of Gary English/Greg Ward and Michael Hitt/Darrell Britt. Batten and Lebo posted a 162-hole total of 246 to score a two-stroke victory over runners-up English and Ward. Hitt and Britt finished alone in third position at 251.

Action began with defending champions Rick Baird and Andy Coradini soaring into co-leadership with the Smith/Sigmon team at 26. Batten and Lebo lurked a stroke behind in third position at 27.

A second-round 25 moved Smith and Sigmon into sole possession of the 36-hole lead at 51. The teams of Baird/Coradini and Batten/Lebo hovered two strokes behind in a tie for second place at 53.

Smith and Sigmon continued their strong morning play in the third round, taking the 54-hole lead at 79. Batten and Lebo finished the morning portion of the tournament one stroke behind at 80. Ward and English moved into third position at 82.

After completion of the first round of the afternoon tournament, Batten and Lebo surged into the 90-hole lead at 133. English and Ward stood three strokes behind the leaders at 136. Hitt and Britt charged into third position with a combined fourth-round score of 50 and held third place alone at 139.

Batten and Lebo increased their lead to five strokes after the fifth round of play, posting a 126-hole total of 191. Despite a combined fifth-round score of 60, English and Ward clung to second place at 196. The race for third place tightened considerably, as the teams of Hitt/Britt and Baird/Coradini were tied for third position at 199 and the remaining three squads were deadlocked a stroke further back at 200.

In the final round of play, the teams of English/Ward and Hitt/Britt made spirited clubhouse charges, with each team posting a combined sixth-round score of 52. Batten and Lebo made critical aces late in the final round to post a sixth-round combined score of 55 and a 162-hole total of 246 to edge out English and Ward by two strokes and earn their first North Carolina Teams Championship. The tournament marked the first time that the duo of Batten and Lebo ever had teamed together in a teams event. Hitt and Britt finished in third position at 251.

In the amateur division, the North Carolina Teams Championship was contested by seven amateur squads employing the same tournament format as used by the professional division. The team of High Point local players Frankie Peters and Keith Waters charged from behind in the final round to fire a 162-hole total of 251 and earn a five-stroke victory over the team of Chris Alley and Ricky D. Schults. The team of Mark Lawson and Caleb Kennedy finished in third position at 260.

Play commenced with team of Alley and Schults crafting a brilliant first-round 23 to seize a four-shot lead over three teams. The teams of Peters/Waters, Lawson/Kennedy, and Barry Moore/Dennis Biesma were in a second-place logjam at 27.

The torrid pace of Alley and Schults cooled in the second round and the scoring tightened as a result. After a second-round 30, Alley and Schults clung to a one-stroke 36-hole lead at 53. Alone in second place were Peters and Waters, who fired their second consecutive 27 for a 36-hole total of 54. Just another stroke behind in third position at 55 were the teams of Lawson/Kennedy and Chuck Nance/Adam Smith.

Peters and Waters wrestled the lead from Alley and Schults after completion of the morning event, posting at 54-hole total of 80. Alley and Schults stood alone in second place at 82. Lawson and Kennedy entered the afternoon portion of the event another stroke back in third position at 83.

Alley and Schults surged back into the lead after the fourth round of action, posting a fourth-round combined score of 56 for a 90-hole total of 138. The teams of Peters/Waters and Lawson/Kennedy shared second place at 141.

The leaders again reshuffled themselves in the fifth round of action. As Alley and Schults ballooned to a fifth-round combined score of 63, Lawson and Kennedy moved into the lead with a 126-hole total of 196. Peters and Waters lurked three strokes behind the leaders, in second place at 199. Alley and Schults entered the final round in third position, five strokes behind the leaders at 201.

Peters and Waters made an inspired clubhouse run in the final round, posting a final-round combined total of 52 for a 162-hole total of 251 and a convincing five-stroke victory over Alley and Schults, who finished alone in second position at 256. Lawson and Kennedy fired a disappointing sixth-round combined total of 64 to drop into third position at 260. Buried deep in the pack earlier in the tournament, the team of Jeff Carr and Larry Hoover made a valiant run at third place with a sixth-round combined total of 50, but fell two strokes short of that goal and settled for a fourth place finish at 262.

The North Carolina PPA Tour will return to action on Sunday, September 11 with the North Carolina PPA Match Play Championship. Play will begin on course # 2 in High Point, NC at 9:00 a.m on that date.


10 September 2005 - High Point, NC - In the second of two 54-hole events played on the eve of the North Carolina Match Play Championship on course # 2 in High Point, NC, Michael Hitt rebounded from posting a 54-hole total of 95 in the day's earlier event to fire a brilliant 71 and notch an eight-stroke wire-to-wire victory. Hitt shot spectacular rounds of 23, 24, and 24 to win the Wayne Hancock Memorial tournament and establish a new 54-hole scoring record for the course. The victory was the second of the 2005 PPA season for Hitt. 1993 PPA National Champion Andy Coradini and 2005 Palmetto Classic Champion Ray Guthrie tied for runner-up honors at 79, a distant eight strokes behind Hitt. 1997 PPA National Champion Randy Reeves posted 80 to finish alone in fourth position. Rounding out the top five were 2001 PPA Match Play Champion Vince Batten and local standout Lee Witcofski, who tied for fifth place at 81.

Action commenced with Hitt firing a sizzling opening-round 23 and surging into a lead which he never would relinquish. Batten started strongly, posting a solid first-round 24 to assume second position. In a four-way third-place logjam at 26 were Reeves, 2001 PPA National Champion Greg Ward, 2005 Elton Davis Memorial Champion Lance Perdue, and Michael Cardwell.

With a second-round 24, Hitt took permanent command of the tournament. Hitt's 36-hole total of 47 gave him a comfortable five-stroke lead over Reeves, who was alone in second place after two rounds at 52. Perdue lurked another stroke back, in solo third place at 53. Bunched in a fourth-place tie at 54 were Guthrie, Batten, Witcofski, and Asheboro standout Bear Landin.

Hitt completed his sensational tournament performance with a final-round 24. As his closest pursuers faded in the final round, Hitt recorded a dominating eight-stroke victory. Hitt's 54-hole total of 71 established a new three-round scoring record for the course. Coradini and Guthrie fired sparkling respective final rounds of 24 and 25 to finish in a second-place tie at 79. Reeves' final-round 28 dropped him into solo fourth place at 80. Batten and Witcofski posted third-round 27's to finish in a tie for fifth position at 81. The cash line for the 17 money spots awarded in the event came at 85.

In the amateur division, tour rookie Caleb Kennedy and 2005 Classic Champion Jeff Carr battled to a tie at the end of 54 holes of regulation play, finishing deadlocked at a 54-hole total of 83. Kennedy had defeated Carr in a play-off on course # 1 in High Point earlier in the season. The result would be the same for the talented teen in the Wayne Hancock Memorial, as he bettered Carr by three strokes in an 18-hole play-off to record his fourth amateur win of the season on the North Carolina Tour. 2005 Palmetto Classic APA Champion Frankie Peters, winner of the Barbara Nance Memorial earlier in the day, finished a stroke out of the play-off, alone in third positition at 84. Barry Moore and Larry Hoover rounded out the top five amateurs, completing play in a fourth-place tie at 85.

Play began with 2004 APA National Champion Ricky D. Schults surging into the opening-round lead at 27. Kennedy held second position at 28. Peters, Moore, Chris Alley, and 2003 APA National Champion Bonnie White were in a third-place logjam at 29. Eventual play-off participant Carr was mired in an eleventh-place tie at 32.

With a second-round 26, Kennedy leapfrogged into the 36-hole lead at 54. Moore stood alone in second position with a two-round total of 57. Schults ballooned to a second-round 32, dropping him into a third-place tie at 59 with Carr, Hoover, local APA standout Keith Waters, and Mark Lawson.

Carr completed his comeback in the event by posting a rousing final-round 24, which pole-vaulted him into a tie for the 54-hole lead with Kennedy, who stumbled to a lackluster third-round 29. Kennedy rebounded courageously in the subsequent 18-hole play-off, however, defeating Carr by three strokes and earning his fourth amateur victory of the season on the North Carolina Tour. Peters soared into third place with a final-round 24 for a 54-hole total of 84. Moore and Hoover shared fourth position at 85. Alley, Waters, and Schults finished in a three-way tie for sixth place at 87, splitting the final amateur expense reimbursement spot awarded in the tournament.

Prior to tee off in the event, a brief ceremony was held to honor Wayne Hancock, the tournament's namesake and an amateur division standout prior to his premature death in the early 1990's. Hancock's sportsmanship, putting prowess, and dedication to the sport were remembered in remarks by his cousin and current PPA professional Robert Ward.

The North Carolina PPA Tour returns to action with the contesting of the North Carolina Match Play Championship on course # 2 in High Point, NC. Play in the event begins at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday, September 11.


10 September 2005 - High Point, NC - The North Carolina PPA Tour began a weekend of four tour events with the contesting of the 54-hole Barbara Nance Memorial tournament on course # 2 in High Point, NC. Hot and windy conditions led to some sluggish and erratic field scoring in the event. 2004 South Carolina State Champion Brad Lebo and 2003 South Carolina State Champion Tony Varnadore each fired steady rounds of 27, 26, and 28 for a 54-hole total of 81 to tie for the tournament lead at the end of regulation play. Lebo narrowly defeated Varnadore in a tightly-contested 18-hole play-off by a score of 28-29 to notch his ninth victory of the 2005 PPA season. With the win, Lebo mathematcally closed out Matt Summey to capture North Carolina PPA Tour Player of the Year honors for the second consecutive season. Second-round leader Randal Smith finished alone in third position at 83. Finishing in a three-way tie for fourth place at 84 were Summey, Vince Batten, and Greg Ward.

Action commenced with Smith and Rick Baird each firing 26 to share the opening-round lead. Lebo, Varnadore, and Bill Kirby lurked one stroke back in a tie for third position at 27. Billy Caudle hovered another stroke behind at 28.

Smith crafted a solid second-round 25 to take sole possession of the 36-hole lead at 51. Lebo, Varnadore, and Baird stood two strokes off the lead, in a three-way second-place logjam at 53. Ward and Kirby shared fifth position at 56.

Scoring among the leaders was lackluster in the final round of play, with the tournament developing into a war of attrition. Smith and Baird each posted disappointing third-round 32's to fall out of contention. Lebo survived two final-round bogeys to fire a third-round 28, which was matched by Varnadore. Lebo and Varnadore each posted a 54-hole total of 81, finishing regulation play in a tie for the lead. A winner would be decided in an 18-hole play-off. Smith finished alone in third position at 83. Summey, Ward, and Batten rounded out the top five, tied for fourth place at 84. The cash line for the 17 money spots awarded in the event fell at 88.

The 18-hole play-off developed into a tightly-contested seesaw battle between Lebo and Varnadore. The contestants completed the front nine tied at 14. Varnadore aced holes 10 and 11 to take a two-stroke lead. Lebo fought back with aces on holes 12, 13, and 14 to surge to a one-stroke advantage. Varnadore aced hole 16 to square the match. With honors, Varnadore endured an unfortunate break on the 17th hole and settled for a deuce. Lebo aced hole 17 behind Varnadore. Lebo gambled on hole 18, laying up on the difficult hole for a tap-in deuce. Varnadore had the opportunity to extend the match with an ace. Varnadore put his ace effort on line, but fell short of the hole, securing the victory for Lebo. Lebo defeated Varnadore in the play-off by a final score of 28-29. The win was Lebo's ninth of the 2005 PPA season. With the victory, Lebo also wrapped up North Carolina PPA Tour Player of the Year honors for the second consecutive year.

In the amateur division, 2005 Palmetto Classic APA Champion Frankie Peters survived a close battle with several other players to post a 54-hole total of 86 and capture his first Barbara Nance Memorial title and third amateur title of the 2005 season. Mark Lawson notched runner-up honors at 87. 2004 APA National Champion Ricky D. Schults and Chuck Nance tied for fourth place at 88. Rounding out the top five was local APA standout Keith Waters, who finished at 89.

Scoring was tightly-bunched after the opening round of play in the amateur division. Peters, Schults, and Chris Alley shared the first-round lead at 27. Barry Moore stood alone in fourth place at 28. Bunched in a fifth-place tie at 29 were Lawson, Nance, local teen sensation Caleb Kennedy, and Dennis Biesma.

The tournament remained tightly-contested after two rounds of play. Peters and Nance shared the 36-hole lead at 56. Schults stood alone in third position just a stroke off of the lead at 57. Lawson, Kennedy, and Moore entered the final round tied for fourth place at 58.

With scoring rising among the leaders in the final round, Peters endured a final-round 31 to post a 54-hole total of 86, good for a one-stroke victory over Lawson, who finished alone in second place at 87 after a final-round 29. Schults and Nance finished in a third-place tie at 88. Waters fired a third-round 27 to surge into fifth position at 89. At 90, Kennedy, Moore, and Biesma tied for sixth place and split the final amateur expense reimbursement spot awarded in the event.

With his finish in the event, Schults wrapped up 2005 North Carolina Tour Player of the Year honors in the amateur division in a close year-long battle with 2005 Classic Champion Jeff Carr. Schults also recently captured 2005 South Carolina Tour Player of the Year honors in the amateur division.

Prior to tee off in the event, APA member Chuck Nance presented the Barbara Nance Memorial Dedication Award, named posthumously for his mother and awarded annually in association with this tournament to a player who exhibits superior sportsmanship and dedication to the game. This year's recipient was Martinsville putting icon Randal Smith.

After a break of about an hour following completion of the Barbara Nance Memorial tournament, the North Carolina PPA Tour returns to action with a second 54-hole event, the Wayne Hancock Memorial, to be held on course # 2 in High Point, NC on Saturday, September 10.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Lance Perdue Makes Final Hole to Win 2005 Elton Davis Memorial

August 13-14, 2005 - Burlington, N.C. - Lance Perdue ended his dream to win the Elton Davis Memorial when he made the final hole of play to win the annual event by one shot. Perdue made up a five shot deficit after the halfway point and fired a second day score of 102 to pull off his first career major victory on Sunday in Burlington.
The annual Elton Davis Memorial is the second longest running played tournament in the history of the Professional Putters Association. In its 31st rendition, the tournament saw its biggest turnout in three seasons (32 professionals and 17 amateurs). For the second weekend of August in North Carolina, weather was the statement as heat and humidity played a big role, especially on Saturday.
The tournament got underway with the 2004 champion Opie Roberts stepping up and acing the first hole. It looked as if he would start out strong in search of his second consecutive title. Playing under flu-like symptoms this weekend, Roberts started off struggling to find anything on the course and posted an opening round 32. The leader in the first round would go to Bob Haizlip, who teed off second behind Roberts. Haizlip shot 26 in the opening stanza for a one-shot lead over 2002 champion Greg Newport and 2004 Match Play champion Michael Hitt.
The lead throughout the Saturday session on the event would go back and forth between the two local heavyweights from Burlington. In the second round, Newport and Hitt shot a 25 to grab the lead at 52 and led by one over Haizlip and 1997 champion Robert Johnson. Not much change was provided through the third round as Newport extended his lead to two strokes over Haizlip and Hitt. Through 54 holes, Newport was the only player under 80 as he was in at 79, with Haizlip and Hitt both tied at 81 for second and two-time champion Daryl Freeman making his traditional third round move to the top by firing a 24 to move into fourth with Rick Baird, playing in his 22nd consecutive Elton Davis as a professional and in search of his first title, at 82.
Haizlip took over in the fourth and final round of the day. Already off to a strong start with an 11 on the front, Haizlip was -10 after 15 and nursed a one-shot lead with the final three holes to play. In the past, Haizlip was known to have a "horseshoe in his pocket." On the final three holes, Haizlip made 16 after scraping the right cheese down the fairway, then nearly missed the pipe on 17 and had the ball break mysteriously back to the left toward the hole, and left 18 short, but the ball turned left and last-rolled in from the bottom left corner lip to end the round with a 23. That would give him a first-day score of 104 and a three-shot advantage on Newport, who would end the day at 107. Billy Caudle fired his second consecutive 26 of the day to round out the lead pairing at 109. Perdue put himself in contention also when he posted a 24 to go in at 109 and would tee off from the #4 position on the board for Sunday.
Roberts still had a shot himself. After the dismal 32 to start out play, Roberts came back strong to post an 80 on the final 54 holes to go in at 112 and be eight out of the lead. It appeared the same scenario was intact as that was the exact score Roberts shot last season before his miracle run to victory. Only this time, Roberts' deficit was one-stroke and two spots worse. It would be the first time in the last four eight-round events in Burlington (1999, 2003 and 2004) that the defending champion was not leading after the first day.
The APA field had its best turnout since the 2002 season when there were 17 participants as well. Keith Waters was their defender, but had one of the worst starts any defender had. Waters began the day with two even-par rounds of 36 and was down 23 after the first two rounds.
The amateurs had a better time scoring did the pros. The first round was shot by 2003 APA National Champion Bonnie White, who turned a 25 to lead by one Chuck Nance. Nance had mentioned during the week that he would love to win this event as it had meant so much to him. Nance made a courageous charge into the second round. Nance, a winner already on Course 1 this season in Burlington back in March, fired a 23 to jump out to the lead at 49. His lead was by one over local product Robert Boyer, who turned in the day's best round of 22 to move into the second hole at 50. White was third at 53.
Boyer then took the lead in the third round and responded from Nance's misfortunes. Although he fired the bogey-free, Nance only shot 30 to drop down to second. Boyer posted a 27 to go in at 77, with Nance in second at 79 and Asheboro standout Caleb Kennedy in third at 81. In the final round of the day, Nance came back strong with a round of 28 and jumped ahead of Boyer after his 31. With four rounds to go, Nance was in the clubhouse at 107 and a lead of only one on Boyer. Jeff Carr moved to third at 110, with White in fourth place and still alive being five down to Nance.
On Sunday, the presentation of the Elton Davis Memorial Dedication Award was announced about 15 minutes before the tournament began. The 2005 recipient was Andy Coradini and before he accepted the award, Coradini's long-time friend and North Carolina teammate Rick Baird made the presentation in his honor. Baird described Coradini as a friend to his fellow combatants and was also rooting players on whether or not that player was playing well or when he was not playing up to his potential. Coradini had a loss for words in his acceptance speech, but did say that he made a lot of friends over his 25 years of competition.
By the time the fifth round got underway, the thermometer already reached 90 degrees, despite the 10:00am start. Haizlip's three-shot lead in the Pro Division would gradually evaporate as the carpet quickly thickened. Haizlip constantly lagged his tee shots and only shot 31 to lose the lead in an instant. That would progress into the later rounds that would eventual take out of the money.
However, it was Newport trying to gun for his second Elton Davis title in four years. Despite missing the first four holes of the round, Newport fired a 25 to grab a three-shot lead on Haizlip. Newport was in at 132, with Haizlip next at 135. Perdue and Matt Summey were tied for third at 136. There were a pair of 21's in the fifth round committed by Jimmy Comer and Darrell Britt that put them slightly back in contention at 138 and 140, respectively, before backing out with rounds in the 30's that dropped back down to their original starting point of the day.
Carr began his battle to the top in the APA Division. Nance started the round off strong with a 25 to put him at 132. Carr shaved two strokes off the lead with a 23 that moved him into second and within one shot of Nance. Nance began to fade in the sixth and seventh rounds. Although he shot 30 in round six, Carr only posted a 29 and both were tied at 162. The seventh round was the difference. Carr fired the APA's best seventh round 26 to grab a four-stroke lead on Boyer, while Nance dropped to third and five back after a 31 placed him at 193.
Meanwhile, Perdue took command and moved ahead after Newport's demise. Newport again missed the same first four holes, and would be common for the remaining two rounds. Newport ended up with a 29 in the round, but would be passed by Perdue's 24 to give the second place finisher from 2004 the lead at 160. Newport dropped to second at 161 and it was the last time he would see any lead of the tournament. Coradini jumped to third following a 24 of his own to move to within three of the lead and Summey remained in contention being four off the lead.
Johnson made his move to the top of the leaderboard in the seventh round. Johnson shot 23 move from sixth to second. Perdue stayed in the lead with a 27 that put him in at 187. Johnson was at 188, and Coradini was hanging in at 189. Coradini was trying to become the first player to be Dedication Award winner and the tournament winner in the same year. He was also trying to come from nine down after the first day to win, which would be the biggest deficit to overcome
In the APA Division's final round of play, Jeff Carr's four-shot lead was almost erased. Carr would only fire a 30, but it was good enough to hang on to a two-shot win. For Carr, the win was his first Elton Davis title and becomes the first player from the state of South Carolina to take home the crown in the APA Division. Carr also would win for the fourth time this season on the North Carolina tour. Robert Boyer of Burlington, N.C. was second at 220, while Chuck Nance would finish in third at 221. Steve Helton fired a second day score of 107 to finish in fourth at 222, while fifth went to Bonnie White at 224.
Meanwhile in the Pro Division, Perdue's one-shot lead would be challenged by Johnson, Hitt, and even Caudle. Johnson fired a final round 24 to finish at 212. Perdue began with a 5-under front nine and had to basically run the table on the back. Perdue eventually tied Johnson with the final hole remaining. On 18, Perdue played the right rail shot to get over the hill and the ball went in dead center to clinch the victory. Perdue's ace on the final hole marked the first time the Elton was decided with an ace on the final hole since Freeman did it two years ago. His final round 24 was the third consecutive year and fourth in the last six that the winner of the tournament would shoot 24 in the final round.
Caudle turned in the tournament's best round and career best score of 20. Caudle missed holes 6 and 11 by a combined 18 inches, including touching the lip on hole 6, for a shot at third perfect round in PPA history. Caudle finished two strokes off the pace.
Perdue won the 31st annual Elton Davis Memorial with a final score of 211 for his first ever major title. His score matched his second place score from last season, where he lost by two shots to Opie Roberts. Robert Johnson, who was going for his first Elton title since 1997, settled for second at 212. Billy Caudle and Michael Hitt each were tied for third at 213. Matt Summey placed in the top five at 215.
Tied for sixth were Coradini, Ray Guthrie, and Randal Smith, all finishing at 216. Roberts had a final round 23 that placed him in the top ten in ninth place for his 2004 defense at 217. Freeman and Brad Lebo round out the top ten at 218. Caudle received a state qualifying spot and a Match Play spot from this event. Summey grabbed the second Match Play spot offered.
Special thanks goes out to Brian Patterson and his staff for a "job well done" once again in preparations for the 31st annual Elton Davis Memorial.
The North Carolina tour will take the next weekend off and will head to Spartanburg for the final weekend in conjunction with the South Carolina tour program. The events will be played on August 27 & 28 on Course 3 with a 12:00pm tee time on the 27th and 10:00am on the 28th.