Vince Batten Wins
ProPutters.com Match-Play Championship
and $2,000 First Prize Check
7 August 2001 - Lynchburg, VA - Vince Batten of Richmond scored 10 holes-in-one Tuesday en route to a 5 and 3 victory over Ken Hastings of Monroeville, Pa., in the finals of the $4,000 PPA ProPutters.com National Match Play Championship.
Vince Batten, winner of the 2001 ProPutters.com Match-Play Championship.
The 41-year-old Virginia State Champion collected $2,000 while earning his first major crown in the Professional Putters Association event held at the Putt-Putt Golf & Games family entertainment complex on Timberlake Road.
I really wasnt thinking about my first major championship, said Batten, who increased his PPA career prize money earnings to more than $38,000 since turning pro in 1983. I was just trying to concentrate on each hole. Now that its over, it is beginning to sink in that Ive just won my first major title.
Hastings, a 53-year-old who has played in relative obscurity throughout his PPA career, won $1,000 - his largest payday on the PPA Tour that was founded in 1960.
Vince just got on a run and ran away from me, said Hastings, who advanced to the semifinals earlier Tuesday with a 4 and 3 victory over Craig Williams, who hails from Monroeville, too. But it was such an honor for me to reach the finals of a major championship. Im proud of what I accomplished.
Batten earned his way into the finals with a 2 and 1 victory over Greg Ward, 39, of Loganville, Ga., the all-time winner in PPA history with 133 victories.
Actually, Batten said, I was more nervous in the semifinal match against Greg, because he is such a great player. When I beat Greg, thats when I started thinking about winning a major title.
The finals and semifinals were taped by WSET-TV, and are scheduled for syndicated telecast in the spring. Dennis Carter, sports anchor of the local ABC-TV affiliate, served as play-by-play announcer along with Joe Aboid, owner of the local franchise and PPA Commissioner.
We had 64 of the best players in America competing for this championship, and Vince Batten certainly showcased his putting skills in the finals, Aboid said. We had great galleries, and we are looking forward to airing the telecasts for Lynch and surrounding counties in the spring.
More than 100 pros and amateurs have converged on the local facility for PPA National Championship Week, which continues Thursday with the $2,000 PPA Challenger Shoot-out and the Junior Putters of America National Championships. The $15,000 PPA National Champion is scheduled Friday through Sunday.