Brad Lebo Leads Wire-to-Wire in 2004 PPA South Carolina State Championship
26 September 2004 - Spartanburg, SC - A dominating morning session was a key element in Brad Lebo winning his first state championship on the South Carolina tour. Lebo opened action with a pair of 22's that would stake him to a five-shot lead after two rounds. He then closed with a final round 10 on the front nine that broke a tie with Greg Ward and survived a late charge by Rick Culverhouse to win.
Brad Lebo playing the 12th hole on course #1 in Richmond, VA during the 2004 PPA World Match Play Championship.
Lebo began action with a pair of 11's for a round of 22. Allen Wall also opened with a 22 to share the first round lead. Ward started the day two back of the lead and in third. Lebo continued to burn up the course on a cool September morning. Lebo fired another 22 to miss the 36-hole scoring record by one shot. After two rounds, Lebo was leading at 44, with Wall and Dan Anders sharing second at 49.
Lebo then felt the heat in the third round. With only two aces on the front, Lebo went back in form and fired a back nine 11 to finish the round at 27. At the end of the morning, Lebo was in at 71, with Anders closing in at 74, and Randy Reeves, Saturday's winner, at 76.
The APA State Championship started their tournament on Saturday and was completed on Sunday during the first half of the Pro's version. Chris Hudson grabbed the opening three-round lead at 79 and held a two-shot lead on Jeff Carr and Steve Helton. Hudson had the win under control. Into the final round, he was leading by three shots, but faded rapidly. Hudson lost the lead and a shot at reimbursement when he posted a final round 33. Brian Hutchins came to shoot 25 in the final round for a second day score of 77 and a four-shot win.
Hutchins won his second South Carolina APA State Championship with a score of 161. Carr and Larry Smith finished tied for second at 165. There was a playoff for the second place trophy and Carr easily won the playoff. Hudson finished tied for fourth with defending champion Ricky Schults at 166.
Play resumed in the Pro Division. Lebo's three-shot lead held intact after the fourth round. Although it was his worst round of the tournament, Lebo was still in at 100, with Anders and Ward climbing back to share second at 103. Lebo's lead was deteriorating in the fifth round. Ward fired a 24 that would vault him to catch Lebo. Both were in at 127.
Culverhouse made a late run in hopes to achieve the victory. Culverhouse fired a final round 25 to pass Ward for at least second and still a slim shot at the win. Lebo began the final round with a 10 on the front, missing hole 2 in the process. Down the stretch, he would ace holes 14 & 16 to seal the win. Lebo laid up the final two holes perfectly to finish with a two-shot win.
Lebo finished the 2004 South Carolina State Championship in Spartanburg with a final score of 152. Lebo shot 81 in the afternoon, enough for the win. It would be his biggest win since winning the 2002 Virginia Open, a tournament where he initially set the current six-round tournament record of 142. Lebo also earned $500 for the win. Culverhouse came in second at 154, and Anders was third at 156. Greg Ward finished alone in fourth at 157, and fifth went to Andy Coradini at 158.
There was an awards banquet held at Fire Mountain Grille in Spartanburg on Saturday night. Awards were handed out to all of the 2004 winners on the tour. Special awards were also presented. Andy Coradini was the recipient of the Player of the Year Award, while Jeff Carr was honored as the APA recipient. Greg Ward was named the Bob Jackson Sportsman of the Year Award, and Carr was also the APA honoree. Larry Smith received the honor as the APA Most Improved Player.
The 2005 South Carolina Committee was also announced at the end of the State Championship. The committee for next season will consist of Tony Jackson, Frank Warren, Robert Johnson, Bob Jackson and Rick Culverhouse. Culverhouse will replace Michael Hitt on the staff. Chris Hudson was named as the APA representative for the second straight year.
Special thanks also was given out to the Sumerel family and to course manager Scott Pierce for the hosting of the South Carolina State Championship. This was the seventh encounter in Spartanburg and the sixth event of its kind on Course 2.
South Carolina has concluded its season. However, the tour still will send ten players to the Clayton Cup in Columbia on October 16 & 17. Naming to the team for 2004 are Andy Coradini and Michael Hitt, represented as the co-captains. Also representing the South Carolina team will be Frank Warren, Robert Johnson, Rick Baird, Darrell Britt, Tony Jackson, Tony Varnadore, Greg Ward (all returning from the 2003 squad), and first time player Bob Jackson.
Tournament results provided by Opie Roberts.