Greg Ward Defends PPA Southern Open Title in Augusta, Georgia
1 July 2001 - Martinez, Georgia - Greg Ward of Loganville went on a tear in the final 36 holes Sunday to easily defend his $10,000 PPA Southern Open crown while collecting his fifth major title.
Greg Ward begins the defense of his PPA Southern Open Title on Saturday in Martinez, Georgia.
The 39-year-old scored holes-in-one on 10 of his last 11 holes in the seventh round and aced eight of his first nine in the final round, giving him a 198 total, 90 under par, for eight rounds and a six-stroke victory over Cliff Matthews of Arlington, Texas.
It was close until that stretch, and that run just put it away for me, said Ward, who owns 132 PPA victories, more than any player in Professional Putters Association history.
Ward had rounds of 24, 27, 25, 23, 26, 27, 23, 23 for the 144-hole event played at the Putt-Putt Golf & Games on Martinez, Blvd. and earned $1,500, bringing his PPA lifetime money earnings to more than $115,000 in a career than began in 1982.
Matthews, who won the PPA National Invitational Championship earlier this year, recorded scores of 22, 25, 26, 28, 23, 26, 27, 27 for a 204 total and earned $1,000. Kevin Lacey of Cincinnati, Ohio, with scores of 24, 26, 24, 30, 26, 28, 23, 29, was at 210 and earned $900. Lewis Burton of Lawrenceville, the 1989 and 1998 PPA National Champion, shared fourth place with Jimmy Mott of Charlotte, NC at 214, both earning $675.
Frank Warren of Augusta shared sixth place with Andy Coradini, the 1993 PPA National Champion, both at 216. Each earned $475. Mike Brown, the 1996 PPA National Champion from Springfield, Pa., was eighth at 217, winning $400. Greg Newport of Liberty, NC and Randy Reeves, the 1997 PPA National Champion from Montgomery, Ala., tied for ninth, both at 218 and earning $350 each.
Sixteen players qualified for the PPA proputters.com National Play Championship, scheduled for Aug. 9 in Lynchburg, Va. They were Lacey, the defending match play champion; Mott, Burton, Coradini, Warren, Brown, Paul Johns of Gahanna, Ohio, Mike Flavin of Augusta, PPA Hall of Famer Daryl Freeman of Bristol, Tenn., Dan Anders of Columbus, Ga., Vince Batten of Richmond, Va., 1992 PPA National Champion Bryan Boyd of Bristol, Tenn., Mark Ross of Evans. Ga., John Bambling of Pittsburgh, Pa., Todd Fowler of Duncan, SC, and Jay Hadsell of North Olmsted, Ohio.
Greg Ward, playing the 11th hole in the sixth round, trailing Cliff Matthews by four strokes.
This is a confidence-builder for me heading into the nationals, said Ward, who has secured all of the sports major titles, except the PPA National Championship, which is scheduled for Aug. 10-12 in Lynchburg. It is the tournament that I would dearly love to win.
Ward was presented the first-place trophy by PPA Hall of Famer Al Simpson, the 64-year-old pro who had to withdraw from the tournament on Saturday when he collapsed after scoring holes-in-one of eight of his first 10 holes. He was taken to University Hospital, where he was treated and released.
If someone had told me that Greg Ward was going to win this tournament, I would have been flown from my home just to present it to him, said Simpson, who resides in Lake Charles, La. and is a founding member of the organization that was founded in 1960. He is one of the great players in our history, and one of the great gentlemen in our sport.
Cliff Matthews, runner-up in the 2001 PPA Southern Open, playing his final hole of the tournament on Sunday.
Ward now is the architect of 13 PPA National Tour triumphs, including the 1987 Commissioners Cup, the 1998 Eastern Open, the 1999 Western Open and the 1999 Southern Open. He was the PPA National Player of the Year in 1988, 1998 and 1999. He was recipient of the PPA Tracey Moore Low-Stroke Average Award in 1988, 1989, 1998 and 1999. He appeared on the ESPN Skins television series in 1988, 1989, 1996 and 1999.
He is the reigning PPA North Carolina State Champion, the 1996, 1993 and 1988 PPA South Carolina State Champion, the 1993 PPA Arkansas State Champion and the 1990 and 1988 PPA Southeast Putting Tour Champion.
Of his 119 PPA state tour triumphs, Ward won 52 events on the PPA Southeast Putting Tour, 41 on the PPA South Carolina State Tour, 20 on the PPA North Carolina State Tour, two on the PPA Virginia State Tour, two on the PPA Great Lakes Tour, one on the PPA Ohio State Tour and one on the PPA Oklahoma State Tour.
2001 APA Southern Open Champion
Included in those victories are the 1998, 1996, 1990 and 1985 Carolinas' Open and the 1999, 1998, 1996 and 1990 Elton Davis Memorial Classic. He was PPA Southeast Putting Tour Player of the Year in 1988, 1989, 1990 and 1991. He was PPA South Carolina State Tour Player of the Year in 1998 and 2000.
Ward joined the Amateur Putters Association in 1978, winning 72 events, including the 1979 Eastern Open, the 1980 Midwestern Open and the 1981 Southern Open.
Robin Ventura of Cincinnati, an 18-year-old who will attend the University of Cincinnati in the fall, won the Amateur Putters Association event, firing rounds of 29, 29, 29, 27, 27, 27, 29, 28 for a 225 total.
Its such a thrill, she said of her first national amateur triumph. I cant wait to call my father. She is the daughter of PPA Tour pro John Ventura.
Jeff Brown of North Olmsted, Ohio, the 1998 APA National Champion, was runner-up at 233. James Weber of Cincinnati was third at 236. Tommy Hutchinson, the South Carolina Amateur Champion from Spartanburg, SC, was fourth at 239. Danny Holcomb of Hope, Ind., was fifth at 244.
Sherry Anderson of Augusta won the Novice Division in a sudden-death playoff.
It was such a thrill, Anderson said. I made the first hole in the playoff. I had been banking that shot off the right rail for years, but I changed and shot it straight in the playoff. Im thrill it went it and Im thrilled to have won.
The Professional Putters Association was founded in 1960 by the late Don Clayton in Fayetteville, NC It has awarded more than $8 million in prize money.