Greg Ward Defeats Andy Coradini in a Playoff for the 2004 Carolinas' Open Title

2 May 2004 - White Lake, NC - For the fourth time in the last five attempts on North Carolina grounds, Greg Ward walked away with a win at the Carolinas' Open. Ward won the title defeating Andy Coradini in a playoff 24 to 27, moments after the two separated themselves from the field with record low rounds in the afternoon.

Greg Ward
2004 Carolinas' Open Champion

In the 20th renewal of the Carolinas' Open and the second time in the last three seasons that the event was held at the White Lake location, 36 pros and 15 amateurs took part and had to deal with inclement weather for the second day in a row. There were brief periods of light rain and substantial winds that were evident all morning into the afternoon.

Things got off and rolling with the APA Division teeing off first, followed by the Pros. Vince Batten led the way for the Pros and got off to a great start. Batten fired an opening round 25, which would be matched by four other players in the round. However, it would be Darrell Britt, a previous winner in White Lake, that would grab the opening round lead at 24 to lead by a shot over the five at 25.

Andy Coradini
2004 Carolinas' Open Runner-Up

A new leader emerged after the second round as Ward fired a 23 to go in at 50. Ward grabbed a one-shot lead over Coradini, Brad Lebo, and Frank Warren. The end of the morning session was completed with Ward still out in front, but had to find himself sharing the lead with Rick Rybaczek. Rybaczek fired a 24 to go in the clubhouse at 76, and Ward shot 26 to create a 54-hole tie for the lead. The contest was tight all throughout the morning. Four other players were a shot off at 77, which included Randy Orr, Greg Newport, Daryl Freeman, and Gary Moore. Three others were two back at 78, including Coradini, Lebo, and Rick Baird. Thomas Rawles completed the group that broke 80 in the morning by finishing at 79.

There was to be a one-hour break for the Pros before teeing off to start the afternoon. That was not the case as a couple of elements inhibited them from starting up on time. First, a heavy storm came through that lasted 10 minutes. Afterwards, there was a four-way playoff in the APA Division at 110 after their fourth round.

Steve Helton
2004 Carolinas' Open APA Champion

The playoff consisted of three players going for their first Carolinas' Open title, and one going for his second straight title in White Lake. Ricky D. Schults and Keith Waters were dueling it out through the third round after going in at 80, but both fired final round 30's to go in at 110. Jeff Carr shot 27 and Steve Helton fired a 28 to make it a four-way playoff. It would the first ever APA playoff in the history of Carolinas' Open.

Helton took the lead after acing hole 4 in the playoff and was being threatened just a bit. After the front, Helton was up two shots on Carr and Waters. Schults trailed by three and started a late recovery. Through 16 holes, Helton was still up two on Carr and Schults. All four aced hole 17. Schults was the first up on 18, and aced it. Helton was next, needing a deuce to secure the win. He did one better as his putt cleared the opening and dropped in for his first ever major win in medal play competition. Helton fired a 26 to win by two over Carr and Schults. The win was special for Helton as he recently battled a couple of personal losses in his life with his daughter and one of his closest friends, both tragically passing away over two weeks ago. Helton dedicated his win to his daughter and friend.

The Pros immediately resumed play and it would be Ward jumping out in the next two rounds. Ward, winner of five previous Carolinas' Open, including the 2002 Carolinas' Open played at the White Lake course two years ago, tied a course record with a 22 to take a two-shot lead. He continued to dominate and led by four strokes after the fifth round when he carded a 24 to go in at 122. However, Coradini had an answer to Ward's strong play and would not allow a repeat of Ward's blowout victory in the 1998 Carolinas' Open in Asheville.

Coradini started the afternoon with a pair of 24's to go in at 126 and then fired a 22 in the final round to finish at 148. Down the stretch, Ward needed to ace the last four holes to stay alive. Somehow, he managed to pull through and played out the string to force the playoff. This would mark the second playoff in the Pro Division within the last four years, and just the third in the history. The other playoffs happened in the 1989 Open in Durham and the 2001 Open in the marathon in Anderson.

Both players matched each other in the first three holes, but Ward started to pull away from Coradini on the front. Ward made the difficult fourth hole, followed by a Coradini miss. Ward would then ace hole 6 in front of another Coradini miss. The playoff would then be decided when Coradini lost another stroke on hole 8 when he missed a two-foot deuce putt that would drop him three back of him. Ward would coast on the back to win by three shots, 24-27 over Coradini to capture his sixth Open title and fourth in the last nine events, all on North Carolina soil. Ward has won four of the last five that North Carolina was in charge of the event (1996-Forest City, 1998-Asheville by 16 shots, 2002 & 2004-White Lake). His other two Open titles came in 1990 in Charlotte and in the first event in 1985 in Anderson.

Ward received $300 for the win, got the North Carolina State Qualifying and Match Play spots, and won for the third time this season in the PPA. Coradini settled for second and received $200, the second Match Play spot given from North Carolina, the South Carolina low medal spot into the State Championship, and the World Match Play low medal spot offered from the NC tour. Frank Warren received the two-day low South Carolina State Championship medal spot and the North Carolina low weekend medal play spot into their State.

Rybaczek finished in a tie for third with Jay Klapper, both falling seven shots off the pace at 155. Warren tied Rawles for the fifth position at 157. Two-time champion Greg Newport finished alone in seventh at 158. Batten's defense wound up in eighth place at 159. Baird, Freeman, Moore, and Randy Reeves round out the top 10 with a ninth place tie at 160.

The South Carolina tour will resume its play at Augusta, Georgia in two weeks. They will be playing on the Red Course on the weekend of May 15 & 16. The North Carolina tour gets back to playing on the weekend of June 5 & 6 as they will head north to Lynchburg for a weekend with the Virginia tour on Course 2.

Tournament results provided by Opie Roberts.

Professional Division of the 2004 Carolinas' Open
(White Lake,
NC - 2 May 2004)

  Round Prize

Greg Ward**

272326222426148$ 300.00
2Andy Coradini272427242422148$ 200.00
3Jay Klapper302526242426155$ 160.00
 Rick Rybaczek262624242926155$ 160.00
5Thomas Rawles252628272625157$ 118.00
 Frank Warren272429242528157$ 118.00
7Greg Newport282524282825158$ 105.00
8Vince Batten252827272626158$ 105.00
9Rick Baird272823273025160$ 88.00
 Daryl Freeman292325272630160$ 88.00
 Gary Moore252725273026160$ 88.00
 Randy Reeves272726262529160$ 88.00
13Brad Lebo252627272828161$ 73.00
 Rusty Taylor252927262727161$ 73.00
15Randy Orr272525263029162$ 65.00
16Randy Carter282725302429163$ 60.00
 Michael Hitt272926282726163$ 60.00
 Bill Kirby262533282625163$ 60.00
19Billy Caudle282727302626164 
 Steve Shively292828282625164 
21Ray Guthrie282927272529165 
22Darrell Britt242930322627168 
 Gary English293028292626168 
24Tony Jackson312727263127169 
 Robert Johnson282629302927169 
 Opie Roberts263026302829169 
 Randal Smith283027292827169 
28Tony Varnadore282829273128171 
29Bob Haizlip272830302631172 
30Ben Blake282829292931174 
31Rick Culverhouse303231282828175 
32Chris Bunting302830312932180 
33Michael Cardwell323130322832185 
34Bob Jackson323228323032186 
35Robert Ward293130343731192 
36Jeff Spainhour263032   WD 

** Greg Ward defeated Andy Coradini in an 18-hole playoff (24-27).

Amateur Division of the 2004 Carolinas' Open
(White Lake,
NC - 2 May 2004)

  Round Expense

Steve Helton**

30252728110$ 20.00
2Jeff Carr28292627110$ 20.00
 Ricky D. Schults28272530110$ 20.00
 Keith Waters26282630110$ 20.00
5Todd Trent28292826111$ 20.00
6Chris Hudson30282728113 
7Frankie Peters28283127114 
8Brian Hutchins27302929115 
9Larry Hoover29273032118 
 Mark Lawson26283232118 
11Walter Kolb30332828119 
12Chuck Nance28313131121 
 Adam Smith33322729121 
14Chris Alley33303131125 
15Dennis Biesma31332933126 

** Steve Helton won an 18-hole playoff (Helton 26, Carr 28, Schults 28, Waters 29).


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