Vince Batten Holds on to Claim
the 2003 Carolinas' Open Title

Vince Batten
2003 Carolinas' Open Champion

1 June 2003 - Spartanburg, SC - After having a three-shot lead through the morning session of the 19th annual Carolinas' Open, Vince Batten won in an eight-player battle that was literally decided within the final two holes. Another great field featuring 47 players came out in full force and were blessed that the winds from Saturday's event were a thing of the past.

Spartanburg's Course 2 last held the Carolinas' Open in 1997 where nine players had a legit shot at the win down the stretch. Although not as exciting the previous outcome, lots of drama unfolded in the final two groups and on the final hole.

Batten started off with an excellent round of 25, but trailed by two to Brad Lebo, who turned in the tournament's low round of 23. Lebo then faltered afterwards by posting a 31 and Batten carded a 26 to move out on top along with Andy Coradini, also seeking his first win of the event. Gary Hester, the 2000 Carolinas' Open champion in Winston-Salem, and Tony Jackson were one off the lead at 52, and Ray Guthrie rounded out the top five as he was two of the pace.

Batten then took charge in the final round of the morning. The Richmond, Virginia native shot 25 to head into the afternoon with a commanding three-shot lead over Cincinnati's Robin Ventura and Rock Hill's Tony Varnadore, who each fired their best round of the tournament with a 24 to place in second at the moment at 79. Hester, Jackson, and 1994 champion Mike Brown all were in a tie for fourth at 80.

The Pros then rested for an hour prior to the final three rounds, while the amateurs, whose event was four rounds, played its final round. Donnie Carpenter dominated each of the first three rounds. After being down by a shot to Ricky D. Schults in the opening round and then was tied with Tommy Hutchinson at 52 after the second round, Carpenter opened up a two-shot lead with a third round 27 to go in the house at 79 and with one round to go.

Carpenter would fire his worst round of the day of 31 and ended up at 110. Richard Griffin, who trailed by two entering the final round, shot 29 to join Carpenter. Both had thought a playoff was going to take place, but neither saw Chris Alley come in and fired the amateur field's best final round of 25 to come from five down and clip the two by one shot.

Alley wound up with his first major win of his amateur career when he won the Carolinas' Open with a score of 109, and Carpenter and Griffin had to settle for second. Hutchinson wound up in fourth at 114.

In the afternoon session, Batten's three-shot lead evaporated quickly and surprisingly, scores jumped up higher than the morning rounds. Batten was still holding on to the lead after the fourth round. Through 72 holes, he was in at 103, while Varnadore posted a 25 and Brown shot 24 to jump into second at 104. Coradini also shot 24 to move into fourth at 105, while Hester fell to fifth at 107.

The race for the title began to tighten even more. Batten lost his sole possession of the lead, but was sharing the lead with Varnadore at 132. Brown and Hester were third at 133, with Coradini in fifth at 134. The pack increased as Jackson was closing in on winning his first Carolinas' Open and reigning Palmetto Classic champion Frank Warren poised an afternoon charge. Warren went in the clubhouse at 162, but it would be good enough to finish in a tie for fourth with Coradini and Varnadore.

Jackson had a shot at the win when his putt on 18 missed left, thus settling for a 161. Hester, tied with Jackson, then hit his putt on 18 and it broke right, thus tying Jackson for the moment. Batten then realized that he needed a par on 18 to clinch victory. He was trying to stop in front of the hole, but the ball rolled to the back rail and had to hit his deuce putt. His putt turned a little to the right, but did not turn enough as it caught the right lip and fell in, giving him the win in Carolinas' Open and shooting a final score of 160.

Jackson and Hester finished in second at 161, while Coradini, Warren, and Varnadore finished tied for fourth at 162. Defending champion Greg Ward finished three shots back along with Brown in a tie for seventh at 163. Ventura came in ninth at 164. Ray Guthrie, the reigning North Carolina State Champion, rounded out the top 10 at 165.

The South Carolina tour will return to Spartanburg in two weeks on the weekend of June 14 & 15 on Course 1, starting at 12:00 p.m. on the 14th and 10:00 a.m. on the 15th. North Carolina returns to action the following week with the Virginia tour in Wilson on the weekend of June 21 & 22.

Tournament recap provided by Opie Roberts and scores provided by Rick Rybaczek..

Professional Division of 2003 Carolinas' Open
SC - 1 June 2003)

  Round NC TourSC TourPrize
1Batten, Vince25262527292816040.0040.00$ 300.00
2Hester, Gary25272827262816133.5036.50$ 185.00
 Jackson, Tony25272829272516133.5036.50$ 185.00
4Varnadore, Tony26292425283016231.0034.00$ 130.00
 Coradini, Andy25263024292816231.0034.00$ 130.00
 Warren, Frank26302725282616231.0034.00$ 130.00
7Brown, Mike27262724293016328.5031.50$ 103.00
 Ward, Greg31282525272716328.5031.50$ 103.00
9Ventura, Robin27282431272716427.0030.00$ 95.00
10Guthrie, Ray26273128252816526.0029.00$ 90.00
11Newport, Greg27322626282816725.0028.00$ 90.00
12Nutini, Dave29252729273116824.0027.00$ 85.00
13Lacey, Kevin28282929282716923.0026.00$ 85.00
14Lebo, Brad23312733272917022.0025.00$ 80.00
15Barbour, Tommy26292729303017120.0023.00$ 77.00
 Stewart, Manfred27282928293017120.0023.00$ 77.00
 Randall, Vance28312829292617120.0023.00$ 77.00
18Caudle, Billy30252732302817217.0020.00$ 69.00
 Rybaczek, Rick30252730312917217.0020.00$ 69.00
 Kirby Jr, Bill29273029302717217.0020.00$ 69.00
21English, Gary27273030293117413.5016.50$ 47.00
 Culverhouse, Rick29282733273017413.5016.50$ 47.00
 Fowler, Todd27302830293017413.5016.50$ 47.00
 Freeman, Daryl31282929302717413.5016.50$ 47.00
25Hitt, Michael27292831312917510.5013.50 
 Britt, Darrell30302528342817510.5013.50 
27Baird, Rick2928283033281767.5010.50 
 Johnson, Robert2830312931271767.5010.50 
 Smith, Randal3028312831281767.5010.50 
 Klapper, Jay3131292629301767.5010.50 
31Rawles, Thomas2830303030291775.008.00 
32Burton, Lewis2832263231291785.006.00 
 Moore, Gary2728323231281785.006.00 
 Pack, Tony2830303229291785.006.00 
35Wall, Allen3127313027341805.005.00 
 Reid, Jonathan2832332728321805.005.00 
37Reeves, Randy3330302828321815.005.00 
 Jackson, Bob3232303029281815.005.00 
39Carter, Randy2833293131301825.005.00 
40Landin, Bear3230303135271855.005.00 
 Roberts, Opie3231293027361855.005.00 
 Haizlip, Bob3429313131291855.005.00 
43Smith, Adam2931343031331885.005.00 
44Orr, Randy3432352936291955.005.00 
45Cardwell, Michael3632343334271965.005.00 
46Benfield, Gary3230313439321985.005.00 
47Simpson, Larry303744Withdrew5.005.00 

Professional Team Results of 2003 Carolinas' Open
SC - 1 June 2003)

  Round PointsPrize
 Team Members123456TotalEarnedMoney
1Jackson - Varnadore51565254555532315.0020.00
2Hester - Hitt52565658575733614.0010.00
3Caudle - Guthrie56525860555633713.00 
4Baird - Coradini54545854625633812.00 
5Newport - Rybaczek57575356595733911.00 

Amateur Division of 2003 Carolinas' Open
SC - 1 June 2003)

  Round NC TourSC TourExpense
1Alley, Christopher2730272510923.0020.0020.00
2Carpenter, Donnie2626273111018.5016.5020.00
 Griffin, Richard2728262911018.5016.5020.00
4Hutchinson, Tommy2824313111417.0015.0020.00
5Smith, Larry2729293011516.0014.00
6Coffey, J. L.2730322711615.0013.00 
7Hendrix, Terry3228282911713.5011.50 
 Hutchins, Brian3024303311713.5011.50 
9Hoover, Larry3130292811812.0010.00 
10Schults, Ricky D2534303112010.508.50 
 Carr, Jeff2832322812010.508.50 
12Schults, Ricky L332930311239.007.00 
13Biesma, Dennis333032291247.505.50 
 Sanders, Jamie312833321247.505.50 
15Helton, Steve352728361266.004.00 
16Nance, Chuck323234331315.003.00 
17Kolb, Walter343237311345.002.00 
18Self, Lynn323934321375.001.00 



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