Richard Buchan Claims 1966 Championship Title in Playoff
By Jack Horner, Sports Editor Durham (NC) Herald
June 28, 1966, will be remembered in the hearts of thousands of Putt-Putters across the land. It was on this day that 33-year-old Tracy Moore of Augusta, GA, passed away. The popular PPA pro and Putt-Putt Course owner had at last found peace after a long bout with cancer.
In 1965 Tracy captured the hearts of thousands of Putt-Putt enthusiasts as he courageously fought off a field of 200 competitors to capture the 1965 National Championship crown. He was also awarded the 1965 Sportsmanship Award.
Mr. Moore is survived by his wife and three young daughters.
Charlotte, NC - 3-4 July 1966 - A couple of newcomers to the Professional Putters Association's 7th annual summer tournament tour showed their heels to the veteran campaigners when the 1966 National Putting Championship was held here on July 3-4, 1966.
Unheralded Richard Buchan, 26, winning his first nickel in PPA competition, defeated 16-year-old Ricky Smith of Indianapolis, IN, in an 18-hole playoff to cop the National Crown from a field of 189 putters from 15 states and the District of Columbia. Buchan, father of two and an employee of the U. S. Soil Conservation Dept., fired a 6-under par 30 against Smith's 33 in the playoff to capture first-place prize money of $2,000. Buchan, who lives in Henderson, NC, and Smith, who has been a pro only two years, finished the regulation 144 holes all tied at 231, which was 57 under par.
During the first day's play on owner Jim Black's beautiful 54-hole Putt-Putt Course, John Roessner, another Indianapolis youth and National Amateur winner in 1962, uncorked successive rounds of 30-26-28-26 for 110, and a one stroke lead over Buchan who had rounds of 28-28-26-29 for 111. Tommy Putnam, 19, of Shelby, NC, was third with 113, thanks to a third round 22 which tied John Connor's all-time PPA competitive record established in the National in Cleveland in 1963. Putnam had 14 aces and 4 par twos.
While Roessner and Putnam faded out of the picture on the second day, Smith charged from a 117 opening day total to Challenge Buchan. Unleashing consecutive rounds of 28-29-27-30, Smith finished early and Buchan aced the 16th - or 142nd hole - to pull even with him at 57 under par. He, then, could do no better than record pars on the last 2 holes, tying the tournament, and forcing an 18-hole playoff.
In the playoff, Smith's bogey three at the second hole cost him a stroke, but Buchan bogeyed the fourth and they were all square. Buchan aced No. 5 and made the turn one up, 16-15. When Buchan aced the 10th, where Smith took a bogey three, he ran his lead to three shots. Buchan eventually led by five strokes until Smith cut the final deficit to three with a par at the 15th and an ace at the 17th.
The National Amateur Championship was won by William Hammock, 17-year-old rising senior at Willingham High School in Macon, GA. The six-two, 185-pound youth nosed out first-day leader Bob Marcellino of Washington, DC, by one shot, 241 to 242. Hammock actually captured the title on his 7th round when he posted a 28 against Marcellino's 34, picking up six shots on this round.
After returning home to Henderson, NC, as the National Champion victor, Richard Buchan proudly posed with his newly-won trophy and his friend, hometown course owner Herbert Jones.
On Saturday, July 2, the first Match Play PPA Tournament was conducted to serve as a warm up tournament for the big event. One hundred pros clashed in head-on 36-hole battles en route to the $400 first-place prize.
Once again, an unheralded pro successfully took on all comers and finished at the top of the heap. Les Sedlak of Bedford, OH, a newcomer to the PPA tour, knocked off such "name" pros as Frank Holt of Dallas, TX, Melvin Sapp of Augusta, GA, Jim Harritos of Savannah, GA, and former National Amateur Champion John Roessner of Indianapolis, IN. The soft-spoken Ohio pro continued his winning ways by finishing in a ninth-place tie during the 1966 PPA Nationals.
Of the field of 189 putters who competed in the National Championship, 143 were pros and 46 were amateurs. Georgia had the most entries, 41, while North Carolina was next with 36. Ohio had 25, South Carolina, 18, and Florida and Tennessee had 12 each.