Jay Klapper Wins
2004 Furniture City Open for
First Win in Five Years
2004 Furniture City Open Champion
3 April 2004 - High Point, NC - Jay Klapper's stellar play on the front nine was the key element to winning his first tournament in nearly five seasons. Despite blustery winds that was the key ingredient in the course conditions on Saturday, Klapper missed just one hole on the front nine in the first two rounds, missing hole 9 in the second round in his bid for a second perfect front nine of the tournament.
Klapper began the afternoon on Course 1 in the next to last pairing in the Pro Division and jumped out with a perfect front nine. Klapper made 10 of the first 11 before cooling off in the round. After taking a bogey on 12 from 10 feet away, Klapper only made two more holes and finished with a 25. Daryl Freeman, winner of the last North Carolina event, opened play with the first round lead at 24.
Freeman then found himself struggling to open the second round. The PPA Hall of Fame member from Bristol, Tennessee deuced the first five holes, and only fired a 16 on the front. Klapper started the second round the way he began the first. Klapper aced the first eight and left the tee shot on 9 at least four feet short of the hole. Klapper sank in his par putt and continued to carry his streak into the back, where he shot 13 to finish with a 23 for the low round of the tournament. Klapper would carry a four-shot lead through the second round with an incredible score of 48.
Vince Batten was in second at 52 and had every opportunity to catch Klapper. Batten fired a final round 28 to go in at 80. Klapper fired a 13 on the front, and then was fading drastically on the back. Klapper only made one hole on the back and bogeyed hole 14, while missing the final seven holes and played them +1 through the stretch. It was barely enough to place his first win of the season and the only player to break 80 on Saturday.
After it was all said and done, Klapper finished with a final score of 79, with Batten in second. Freeman rebounded to finish third at 82, while Randy Carter, Ray Guthrie, and Robert Johnson finished in a tie for fourth at 83. The win for Klapper was his first win of the season, his first PPA win since winning the 1999 South Carolina State Championship, and his first win on the North Carolina tour since winning a 1994 event in Greensboro.
Also winning on Saturday was Brian Hutchins in the APA Division. Hutchins' win was led by a key misfortune from Mark Lawson, who was gunning for his first APA win in just his third attempt. Lawson opened play with a 25 to lead by four shots over a quartet of players, including Hutchins.
Lawson then felt the pressure in the second round when he fired a 34 in the second round to drop out of the lead, but was down a stroke to Hutchins, Keith Waters, and Dennis Biesma. Hutchins would get the victory in the late stages when he fired a 26. Waters had the event won with an 11 on the front nine, but lost it by firing an 18 on the back, including a pair of 4's within the final four holes.
Hutchins finished with a final score of 86, with Waters and Lawson each finishing tied for second at 87.
In the Pro Division, 15 money spots were paid out and 87 was a full share. Klapper qualified for the North Carolina State Championship and took the third seed in the Match Play later this year. He also is currently the low medalist for the World Match Play spot being offered by the North Carolina tour. The low two-day medalist will earn a qualifying spot into the World Match Play that will be played in Richmond during the 2004 Week of the Nationals.
The North Carolina PPA season will continue their weekend on Sunday, April 4 at 10:00 a.m. in High Point. The event is the Guilford County Open.
Tournament recap and scores provided by Opie Roberts.