2 July 2005 - High Point, NC - A field of 34 professional and 16 amateur players gathered on a very sunny, hot, and humid summer day to contest the North Carolina PPA Tour's Furniture City Open, a 54-hole event on course # 1 in High Point, NC. The course boasts a very strong year-round local tournament program, and predictably over half of the professionals in the field were regular local players. Course manager Chris Grainey and host PPA professional Randy Carter had the course in immaculate playing condition for this tournament and as a result there was quite a bit of low scoring by the field.
Brad Lebo Defeats Michael Hitt in a Playoff to Capture Furniture City Open and Third Straight Victory
In a tightly-contested battle, Brad Lebo and Michael Hitt tied for the lead at 73 after 54 holes of regulation play. Lebo outlasted Hitt in an 18-hole playoff, 26-28, to capture his first Furniture City Open title. The victory was Lebo's seventh of the 2005 PPA season.
As action began, reigning South Carolina State Champion Lebo jumped to the top of the first-round leader board with an opening 23. A stroke back at 24 was 2004 PPA National Doubles Champion Greg Newport, who has multiple career tour wins on this course. In a third-place tie at 25 were Martinsville local standout Randal Smith, PPA Pro Players Committee Chairman Bill Baus, Lance Perdue, defending champion Jay Klapper, PPA Hall of Fame legend Daryl Freeman, pre-tournament favorite Ray Guthrie, and reigning Virginia State Champion Matt Summey.
2005 Furniture City Open Champion
With a blistering second-round 22, reigning 2004 PPA North Carolina Match Play Champion Hitt surged into the 36-hole lead at 48. At 49, Lebo and Smith hovered just a stroke back of Hitt's lead. Baus stood alone in fourth position at 50. Tied for fifth place at 51 were Russell Sigmon, Newport, and Guthrie. Lurking just four strokes off the pace at 52 were Perdue and 1995 PPA National Champion Bill Kirby, who posted a second-round 24 to move into contention.
The leaders continued their stellar scoring in the third round, setting up the final-round drama. Lebo fired a third-round 24 and established 73 as the 54-hole score to beat. Smith made an untimely final-round bogey at the seventh hole, but rebounded valiantly by acing eight of the next ten holes. Smith had the opportunity to tie Lebo's clubhouse lead by acing the final hole, but he could not convert and settled for a 54-hole total of 74. Playing in the day's penultimate pairing, Hitt had the final chance to overtake Lebo's lead. Hitt had tied Lebo at 35-under par with two holes remaining. Hitt's ace effort at the 17th hole was struck on a perfect line, but fell just short of reaching the hole. Hitt deuced the final hole as well, tying Lebo at a 54-hole total of 73 and forcing a playoff. Smith finished alone in third place at 74. Rounding out the top five were Sigmon and Baus, who tied at 75. The cash line for the seventeen money spots awarded in this tournament came at 81.
In the ensuing 18-hole playoff, Hitt leaped out to an early one-stroke lead by acing the first four holes. Lebo battled back by acing the next three holes, taking a three-stroke lead when Hitt deuced holes 5 and 6 and recorded a bogey on hole 7. Hitt aced hole 9 to move within two strokes of Lebo's lead at the playoff's halfway mark. Hitt answered Lebo's ace on the 13th hole with an ace on the 14th hole to remain two strokes off the pace. The players matched cards through hole 17. Hitt deuced hole 18 in front of Lebo. With a two-stroke cushion Lebo hit a conservative ace effort on the 18th hole to ensure a final-hole deuce and the win. Lebo defeated Hitt in the playoff by a final score of 26-28, and in the process earned his seventh victory of the 2005 PPA season.
Hitt earned and accepted the spots offered in this event for both the North Carolina State Championship and the North Carolina Match Play Championship.
2005 Furniture City Open
In the amateur division, a hotly-contested dogfight developed between local players Adam Smith and Chuck Nance and amateur heavyweights Ricky D. Schults and Jeff Carr. In the end, Smith made clutch aces on his final two holes to post a 54-hole total of 78 to defeat Nance by a single stroke and earn his first tour win since 2002.
Amateur action began with Smith soaring to the front of the pack with an opening-round 24. Nance was alone in second position at 25. Tied for third at 26 were reigning APA National Champion Schults and Dennis Biesma. Alone in fifth place after an opening 26 was reigning APA ProPutters.com Classic Champion Carr.
The scores remained bunched after 36 holes of play. Schults fired a solid second-round 25 to move into the 36-hole lead at 51. Despite a second-round 28, Smith remained alone in second place at 52. Nance stood in third position at 53. Another stroke back at 54 was Carr. Still in contention at 55 were reigning APA Palmetto Classic Champion Frankie Peters and local standouts Larry Hoover and Keith Waters.
Nance surged to the forefront after the opening nine holes of the final round. By acing the first seven holes and posting a front-nine score of 10, Nance led at the turn of the final round by two, three, and four strokes respectively over Smith, Schults, and Carr. Nance recorded an untimely bogey at the 15th hole, however, and Smith moved into a tie for the lead, with Schults and Carr in hot pursuit just a stroke behind the co-leaders. Playing in the first group of the day, Nance established the 54-hole clubhouse lead at 79. Playing in the day's second pairing and aware of the situation, Smith boldly aced the 17th and 18th holes to overtake Nance with a 54-hole total of 78 and earn his first tour win since the 2002 Elton Davis Memorial Classic. Nance finished alone in second place at 79. Schults and Carr tied for third position at 80. Caleb Kennedy rounded out the amateur top five at 81, and in the process earned the tournament's final amateur expense reimbursement spot.
The North Carolina PPA Tour returns to action on Sunday, July 3 at 10:00 a.m. with the contesting of the Guilford County Open, a 54-hole event to be held on course # 1 in High Point, NC.
Scores and Article provided by Brad Lebo and Rick Rybaczek.
Professional Division of Furniture City Open
(High Point, NC - Course # 1 - 2 July 2005)
| || ||Round|| ||NC||Prize|
|1||Lebo, Brad||23||26||24||73||40.00|| $ 150.00 |
|2||Hitt, Michael||26||22||25||73||34.00|| $ 110.00 |
|3||Smith, Randal||25||24||25||74||33.00|| $ 90.00 |
|4||Sigmon Jr., Russell||26||25||24||75||31.50|| $ 78.00 |
| ||Baus, Bill||25||25||25||75||31.50|| $ 78.00 |
|6||Perdue, Lance||25||27||24||76||30.00|| $ 70.00 |
|7||Kirby Jr., Bill||28||24||25||77||29.00|| $ 65.00 |
|8||Klapper, Jay||25||29||24||78||27.50|| $ 58.00 |
| ||Rybaczek, Rick||29||24||25||78||27.50|| $ 58.00 |
|10||Haizlip, Bob||29||24||26||79||24.50|| $ 45.00 |
| ||Newport, Greg||24||27||28||79||24.50|| $ 45.00 |
| ||Freeman, Daryl||25||29||25||79||24.50|| $ 45.00 |
| ||Guthrie, Ray||25||26||28||79||24.50|| $ 45.00 |
|14||Baird, Rick||27||27||26||80||21.50|| $ 40.00 |
| ||Caudle, Billy||27||27||26||80||21.50|| $ 40.00 |
|16||Batten, Vince||28||26||27||81||19.00|| $ 27.00 |
| ||Cardwell, Michael||26||27||28||81||19.00|| $ 27.00 |
| ||Witcofski, Lee||27||26||28||81||19.00|| $ 27.00 |
|19||Landin, Bear||27||26||29||82||17.00|| |
|20||Carter, Rick||30||28||25||83||14.50|| |
| ||Johnson, Robert||27||26||30||83||14.50|| |
| ||Wall, Allen||29||30||24||83||14.50|| |
| ||Summey, Matt||25||32||26||83||14.50|| |
|24||White, James||28||28||28||84||11.00|| |
| ||Coradini, Andy||29||26||29||84||11.00|| |
| ||English, Gary||29||28||27||84||11.00|| |
|27||Moore, Gary||27||28||30||85||9.00|| |
|28||Jackson, Tony||32||27||27||86||7.50|| |
| ||Carter, Randy||27||31||28||86||7.50|| |
|30||Ward, Robert||27||28||32||87||5.33|| |
| ||Thompson, Don||33||29||25||87||5.33|| |
| ||Britt, Darrell||29||31||27||87||5.33|| |
|33||Bunting, Chris||27||30||31||88||5.00|| |
|34||O'Brien, Tom||27||31||31||89||5.00|| |
Amateur Division of Furniture City Open
(High Point, NC - Course # 1 - 2 July 2005)
| || ||Round|| ||NC||Expense|
|1||Smith, Adam||24||28||26||78||23.00|| $ 10.00 |
|2||Nance, Chuck||25||28||26||79||19.00|| $ 10.00 |
|3||Schults, Ricky D||26||25||29||80||17.50|| $ 10.00 |
| ||Carr, Jeff||27||27||26||80||17.50|| $ 10.00 |
|5||Kennedy, Caleb||30||26||25||81||16.00|| $ 10.00 |
|6||Peters, Frankie||28||27||29||84||14.50|| |
| ||Hoover, Larry||28||27||29||84||14.50|| |
|8||Waters, Keith||30||25||30||85||12.50|| |
| ||Biesma, Dennis||26||30||29||85||12.50|| |
|10||Moore, Barry||33||27||27||87||10.50|| |
| ||White, Bonnie||30||29||28||87||10.50|| |
|12||Lawson, Mark||35||26||30||91||8.50|| |
| ||Trent, Todd||30||30||31||91||8.50|| |
|14||Kolb, Walter||29||39||25||93||7.00|| |
|15||Hendrix, Terry||31||27||36||94||6.00|| |
|16||Moist, Linwood||37||28||33||98||5.00|| |