Greg Ward Wins 2004 PPA South Carolina Tour Opener in 20 Playoff Holes

Greg Ward

27 March 2004 - Columbia, SC - Just like it was when the 2003 season began on the South Carolina tour, Greg Ward picked up a win to get the 2004 program underway. However, to start the year, Ward would have to go to extra holes and then some to finally notch his first win of the season.

The South Carolina returned to the site of the 2003 South Carolina State Championship in Columbia and this weekend's activities were played on Course 2, where the previous two Palmetto Classics were conducted. Ward won the first Palmetto two seasons ago and was going for his second win at the Clemson Road location. Course manager Hubert Robertson welcomed 18 professionals and 12 amateurs to Columbia, being played for the third consecutive year since it opened in the summer of 2002.

Ward got he tournament underway by posting an opening round 25 for a two-shot lead on the last two South Carolina State Champions, Tony Varnadore and Robert Johnson. Rick Culverhouse, who won two previous events on Course 1 last season, recently moved to the Columbia area and took advantage of the course knowledge to make the tournament interesting. Culverhouse fired a 24 in the second round and grabbed the lead from Ward.

Through two rounds, Culverhouse was leading at 53, with Ward one shot back at 54 and Johnson two back at 55. Ward would capture Culverhouse in the final round, besting him 26 to 27 to force an 18-hole playoff at 80. That score would set the course record that was originally set by Opie Roberts in the inaugural tournament there and Ray Guthrie the following season, when at the time the record was 81.

In the playoff, Ward was up two strokes at 6-under to 4-under for Culverhouse with four holes to play. Both players aced 15. Culverhouse aced the next two to make up the ground on Ward who missed both the 16th and 17th holes. Both players aced the final hole to shoot 28 and extended the playoff to sudden death. After both players made the first hole of sudden death, Culverhouse was the first player on hole 2 and missed. Ward played it behind him and made it between the pipes to capture the win.

Fate was also in the hands of Chris Hudson. Hudson also started the 2003 season with a win in Forest City and had that achievement duplicated for 2004. Hudson garnered a two-shot win over local Jeff Carr and won from the first hole of play. Hudson started out with a 25 for a three-shot lead, but slipped with a 30 in the second round. He did maintain his lead to just two strokes over Carr and clinched the win with a final round 26 to win by that margin.

Hudson finished the first day of play in Columbia with a score of 81, with Carr finishing in second at 83, and defending state champion Ricky D. Schults wound up in third at 86.

Other Pro Division players that fared well in the tournament were Andy Coradini finishing in third at 82. Randy Orr was fourth at 83, and Rick Baird and Michael Hitt finished tied for fifth at 84. There were a total of nine Pro Division paid back spots, with the score of 85 receiving the last spot, a four-for-three split.

This was also the first of four scheduled Match Play events that would follow the tournament. A new twist in this format was that it would not be winner of the entire bracket advancing, but winning one match would get you to the finals. There will 16 players involved in the South Carolina Match Play Championship on Sunday, August 1. There will also be eight players for the APA Division as well. Seedings for each bracket were determined by order of finish and if the player won that match, he moved on to Spartanburg in August.

In the first match, Johnson, seeded #8 cruised past Ward, the top seed 7 & 6. Orr, the #4 seed, eliminated Hitt, 2 & 1. Coradini, #3, bested Baird 1-up, while Culverhouse, who was the #2 seed, again went to sudden death in the 18-hole match with Vance Randall and won on the third extra hole of the match. Those four winners advance to the finals on August 1.

In the APA Division, Hudson, the top seed, defeated Larry Smith on the 20th hole of the match, while Carr defeated Schults 3 & 2. Those two will move on to the finals in Spartanburg on August 1.

Tournament results provided by Tony Jackson and Opie Roberts.

Professional Division of Columbia, SC Event
SC - 27 March 2004)


Greg Ward**

25292680$ 120.00
2Rick Culverhouse29242780$ 80.00
3Andy Coradini30262682$ 65.00
4Randy Orr28302583$ 55.00
5Rick Baird28292784$ 48.00
 Michael Hitt30272784$ 48.00
7Robert Johnson27283085$ 28.00
 Jay Klapper29292785$ 28.00
 Vance Randall28282985$ 28.00
 Tony Varnadore27322685$ 28.00
11Darrell Britt30302787 
12Mike Flavin32282888 
 Frank Warren32263088 
14Allen Wall30302989 
15Hank Mersereau33282990 
16Todd Fowler30293291 
 Tony Jackson30303191 
18Bob Jackson30343094 

Amateur Division of Columbia, SC Event
SC - 27 March 2004)


Chris Hudson

25302681$ 10.00
2Jeff Carr32252683$ 10.00
3Ricky D. Schults30282886$ 10.00
4Larry Smith29292987 
5Steve Helton28322888 
 Brian Hutchins30312788 
7Russell Taylor31283089 
8Chris Alley32323094 
9Lynn Self33333096 
 Todd Trent29343396 
11Robin Trent343436104 
12Linwood Moist363435106 



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