Paul Johns Wins 1982 Amateur
National Match-Play Championship
10 August 1982 - It took Paul Johns five years, but the
24-year-old from Dothan, Ala., finally won the Amateur Putters
Association National Championship Tuesday. "I love it," said Johns. "I
made the top
eight in 1977. This sure feels good."
Johns defeated 14-year-old
Peter Neumann of Dayton, Ohio, six and five for the title at the
Owen Drive Putt-Putt Center.
Johns said he thought the 12th hold of course No. 3 was
the turning point of the match. "I was one down then. I made the ace and
he had a deuce.
"I could hear the camera clicking and everything going
on," he said. "I just tried to block it out of my mind." Johns was three
up after the first 18 holes then quickly opened up a large lead on the
front nine of the second 18.
"Last year I lost in the first round," said Neumann.
"I'm not disappointed really."
Today's action will include the final 18 holes of the
Junior Putters Association National Championship match between Chris
Graham and Roland Block. That will be followed by the first match of the
quarterfinals of the Professional Putters Association Nationals with
local favorite David Dingus of Fayetteville facing defending national
champion Jeff Estep of Dayton, Ohio.
Tournament coordinator Neil Buie said as many rounds of
the tournament as possible will be played today. It's possible the
semifinals and finals could be played, but Buie said that was doubtful.
"I'm sure the crowd will be rooting for him instead of
with me," said Estep, 20.
Should Dingus, 22, advance into the semis, he would
assure himself of nearly doubling his PPA career earnings of $2,423.16.
Semifinalists are guaranteed at least a $4,000 paycheck.
"This is the first year I've been able to go out on
tour," said Dingus. "Before I only earned about $55 as a pro."
About playing at home, Dingus said ,"It sure feels a lot
better than being on the road."
Commentators Frank Gleiber and Billy Packer will be on
hand today televising the competition on a tape delay basis. The matches
will be shown next spring as part of the PPA's syndicated TV package.
For that reason, Estep may have an advantage since he
won the title in 1981. "It's to
his advantage," said Dingus. "He knows the pressure of playing for the
The big match of the day may be between Charlotte's Ed
Haggerty, the PPA's player of the year the past two seasons, and Ron
Frederick, the tournament's No. 1 seed.
Haggerty, 22, and Frederick, 22, have met three times
with Frederick winning all three matches. "I'm looking forward to it,"
Another quarterfinal match pits Steve Guyton of
Columbus, Ohio, against Steve Lange of Syracuse, NY. Lange won the
Nationals Championship in 1978 while Guyton won the
amateur title in 1977. Guyton is in a position similar to Dingus - a
victory today would just about double his career earnings.
"I didn't think about it at first since I was excited
about getting on TV," said Guyton. "Then I thought about it last night
at the hotel."
Robert Smith of Dallas, Texas will face Gary Benfield of
Charlotte in the other quarterfinal match. Smith, 29, is trying to
become the only three-time winner of the national championship. He
previously won it in 1972
and 1974 and had a chance to win it again in
1975, but lost in the championship round by default.
Benfield, 29, said, "He (Smith) beat me out of a TV spot
in 1977 and I'd like to get even for that."
The first match of the day will be the final 18 holes of
the Junior Putters Association National Championship between Chris
Graham and Roland Block.