Robert Johnson's Playoff Run Earns Him First Win of 2002 on the South Carolina Tour

Robert Johnson at the 2000 PPA National Championship.

16 March 2002 - Rock Hill, SC - A solid back nine in the playoff, with only one miss, was the deciding factor for Robert Johnson as he collected the first tour victory of the 2002 South Carolina season in Rock Hill.  Johnson, whose last victory was in Spartanburg last July with a tour record 54-hole score of 67, was on fire during play on Saturday.

A total of 30 professionals came out for the 2002 season debut.  For mid-March, temperatures were in the 70's with blustery winds.  Low scores were the key elements through the first 18 holes of play.  Gary English and Todd Fowler each got the season off to a great start with a 22 to open play. Johnson fired a 24 to place in third after the opening round.

Johnson had put himself in the driver's seat after he fired a second round 23 to take a two-shot lead on Fowler.  Johnson was in at 47, with Fowler closely behind at 49.  Johnson put in a 27 in the final round to go in the house at 74.  Playing in the group behind him, Fowler answered in the final round by carding a 25 to tie Johnson.  Both headed to an 18-hole playoff and neither player started off well.  After the eighth hole, Johnson held a one-stroke lead at three-under par.  After missing his tee shot on 9, Johnson lipped out an easy deuce putt, and then would find himself trailing by one to Fowler, when he aced it to go to three-under for the round.

Johnson would find a way to pull out a victory when fired a back nine 10 and ended the playoff with a 26 and two-shot victory over the 1997 South Carolina State Champion.  Johnson made six in a row after the bogey three on the ninth hole.  Johnson also set a new South Carolina record to cap off his win on Saturday by playing in his 157th consecutive South Carolina sanctioned medal play tournament, breaking the record of 156 set by Edgar Hollifield.  It was also his first win in Rock Hill since October, 1998 and the first on Course 1 since 1995.

First time amateur Christopher Alley, a  product of Spartanburg, collected his first victory in his first ever event on the tour.  Alley grabbed a two-shot lead after posting back-to-back 27's.  He would fire a final round 29 but would hold on to a one-shot victory over three-time state champion Tommy Hutchinson.  Alley shot 83, while Hutchinson finished at 84, that included three rounds of 28 apiece.  Brian Hutchins finished in third at 85.

Rounding out the top five for the Pro Division were English, Andy Coradini, and reigning state champion Greg Ward, all tied for third at 78.  Fifteen spots were paid out on Saturday, with the score of 83 leaving a four-way split for the final two spots.  The APA Division paid out the top three spots in the tournament.

Johnson's win earned him the State spot to Spartanburg on October 1, and the first of the 15 World Match Play spot coming from the tour.

The South Carolina tour will conclude their weekend on Sunday, March 17, at 10:00am on Course 1.

Recap and Scores provided by Opie Roberts

Professional Division of Rock Hill, SC Event (16 March 2002)

Round

Prize
Player123TotalMoney
1 Robert Johnson** 24 23 27 74 $125.00
2 Todd Fowler 22 27 25 74 $80.00
3 Andy Coradini 25 26 27 78 $64.00
 Gary English 22 31 25 78 $64.00
 Greg Ward 29 24 25 78 $64.00
6 Tony Pack 29 26 25 80 $55.00
 Allen Wall 28 26 26 80 $55.00
8 Rick Baird 29 28 24 81 $50.00
 Brad Lebo 25 29 27 81 $50.00
10 Ray Guthrie 27 29 26 82 $40.00
 Rick Rybaczek 28 26 28 82 $40.00
 Rob Smarzik 25 29 28 82 $40.00
 Tony Varnadore 28 26 28 82 $40.00
14 Michael Hitt 29 27 27 83 $18.00
 Tony Jackson 27 27 29 83 $18.00
 Gary Moore 25 30 28 83 $18.00
 Frank Warren 26 29 28 83 $18.00
18 Billy Caudle 31 27 26 84  
19 Dan Anders 31 26 28 85  
 Jonathan Reid 29 30 26 85  
21 Greg Newport 29 30 27 86  
22 Tommy Barbour 27 29 31 87  
 Gary Benfield 30 30 27 87  
 Opie Roberts 26 30 31 87  
25 Lewis Burton 30 30 29 89  
 Gary Hester 31 29 29 89  
27 Darrell Britt 33 32 28 93  
 Bob Jackson 32 30 31 93  
 Brian Martin 32 30 31 93  
30 Terry Whitaker 36 32 31 99  

** Won playoff 26-28.

Amateur Division of Rock Hill, SC Event (16 March 2002)

RoundPrize
Player123TotalMoney
1 Christopher Alley 27 27 29 83 $10.00
2 Tommy Hutchinson 28 28 28 84 $10.00
3 Brian Hutchins 30 27 28 85 $10.00
4 William Glisson 27 29 30 86  
5 Richard Griffin 29 26 32 87  
 Steve Helton 28 27 32 87  
7 J. L. Coffey 30 30 31 91  
8 Ben Blake 30 31 31 92  
 Robin Trent 29 30 33 92  
 Todd Trent 30 30 32 92  
11 Chris Hudson 33 33 29 95  
12 Betty Helton 35 29 32 96  
 Billy Walters 33 32 31 96  
14 Walter Kolb 35 31 32 98  
 Linwood Moist 29 35 34 98  
16 Jamie Sanders 34 36 32 102  
17 Darren Harvey 44 37 40 121  
 

 

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