Final Round 24 Earns Robert Johnson
2004 Wayne Hancock Memorial Title
2003 PPA National Champion
19 June 2004 - High Point, NC - Robert Johnson had enough resolve to come from three shots down and nearly a quarter of the field to win the 12th annual Wayne Hancock Memorial on Course 1 in High Point this past Saturday afternoon. After trailing by four shots in the opening round, Johnson had the best two-round finish of any professional to win by two shots.
Johnson opened play with a 28. But in a 26-player field, it was good enough to place just below the midpoint of the standings. Opening with the lead at 24 were Tony Varnadore and Lee Witcofski, with a five-way tie for third at 25, including defending champion Rick Rybaczek, and another five were two back of the lead at 26. These were typical Saturday scores in High Point as they jumble for positions and score compactly tight.
In the second round of the event, local player Billy Caudle put himself in the driver's seat. Caudle shot the 24 for the Pros to grab the lead at 50 and took a one-shot lead over Witcofski, Gary Hester, and Daryl Freeman, winner of the last PPA event held in High Point earlier this season. Three more players were two shots back at 52, and a quartet of players, of those that would include Johnson, were tied for eighth at 53.
Johnson would find a way to rally to his first win of the season on the North Carolina tour. Johnson posted the third round's lowest score of 24 to overtake the players that were ahead of him and eventually would win with a score of 77. This came after Caudle, playing in his group, stumbled to a final round 29 and finished at 79. It would tie Gary English for second with that score.
However, Johnson would not have the lowest score shot that day. Asheboro product Frankie Peters captured his first APA career victory in dominating fashion. Peters trailed Brian Hutchins by two shots after the first round, but would step up by firing rounds of 24 and 24 and win by four shots over Ricky D. Schults. Peters won the Hancock Memorial with a final score of 74 and Larry Hoover, who finished in second at 78. Hutchins followed behind Hoover for third at 79.
Five players finished tied for fourth at 80. Those included Rybaczek, Hester, Ray Guthrie, Andy Coradini, and Brad Lebo. The cash line was at 82 and four players scored that and split the last available spot. Temperatures were in the upper 80's throughout the afternoon and conditions were hot and humid. A severe thunderstorm came through High Point moments after the tournament was completed. Johnson's winning score was earnable enough to get the North Carolina State Championship and Match Play qualifying spots.
The next tournament is set for Sunday at 10:00 a.m. in High Point for the eighth annual Barbara Nance Memorial.
Tournament recap provided by Opie Roberts with scores from Rick Rybaczek.