Brad Lebo Defeats James White in Playoff For Fourth Victory of 2005 PPA Season
11 June 2005 - Lynchburg, VA - With mostly sunny and calm weather prevailing, the Virginia and North Carolina PPA Tours contested the second of two weekend dual-tour 54-hole events on course # 2 in Lynchburg, VA. A field of 20 professionals and 22 amateurs enjoyed ideal playing conditions, which led to a very tightly-contested tournament with the bulk of scoring significantly improved over that of the previous day's event.
2005 PPA Lynchburg Classic Champion
Brad Lebo aced eight of his last nine holes of the tournament, including the final six holes, to tie James White with a 54-hole total of 72 and force a playoff. After a close battle for the first fourteen holes of the playoff, Lebo aced the final four holes to pull away from White, winning the playoff 24-29. The victory was Lebo's fourth of the 2005 PPA season.
Action began with White and PPA Hall of Fame member Daryl Freeman posting blistering rounds of 22 to seize the first-round lead. 1996 PPA National Champion Mike Brown fired 24 to take sole possession of third place. Bunched at 25 and tied for fourth position were Lebo, reigning Virginia State Champion Matt Summey, reigning PPA World Match Play Champion Darrell Anderson, Thomas Rawles and Tom O'Brien.
The field continued its torrid scoring pace in the second round. Rusty Taylor, runner-up in the previous day's event, fired a blazing 21, low round of the tournament and weekend, to move into a first-place tie at 47 with Lebo, who fired a second-round 22. White and Summey, who posted 23 in the second round, moved into a tie for third position at 48. Another stroke back at 49 in a tie for fifth place were Anderson and Vince Batten, who shot second-round 23's. Still within striking distance of the lead at 50 were Freeman and Rawles.
By the end of the third round, the tournament became a six-player dogfight which literally was decided on the final hole. White posted 24 in the third round and established a 54-hole total of 72 as the score to beat. Summey charged into position to take command of the tournament, but deuced four of his last five holes to fall a stroke short of the lead. As well, Taylor put himself in strong position to win, but failed to ace either of the tournament's final two holes. Batten and Freeman surged up the leader board with respective final-round scores of 24 and 23, but each also fell a stroke short of the playoff. Lebo fell behind the leaders on the front nine of the third round by firing 15, which featured a startling bogey on the third hole when a tap-in deuce effort popped out of the cup. Lebo regrouped to make eight of the last nine holes, including the final six holes, to fire a third-round 25 and capture White. Lebo and White each aced the eighteenth hole of the final round and matched 54-hole scores of 72, while Summey, Batten, Freeman, and Taylor each deuced the final hole of the tournament to finish in a four-way tie for third place at 73, a stroke out of the playoff. The cash line for the ten money spots awarded in this tournament fell at 79 for the second consecutive day.
In the playoff, each player got off to a strong start, acing five of the first seven holes. White's bogey at the eighth hole gave Lebo a temporary one-stroke lead. With both players acing hole 9, Lebo took the lead 12-13 after the front nine. White aced hole 10 to square the match. With an untimely bogey by White at hole 12, Lebo regained a one-stroke lead. After a match of cards on holes 13-15, Lebo aced hole 16, but White's well-struck ace effort alarmingly popped out of the cup and he settled for a deuce. A driving rainstorm ensued as the players headed to the last two holes. Lebo's ace on hole 17 coupled with White's subsequent bogey all but sealed the victory for Lebo. Lebo aced the final hole to fire 24 for the playoff, while White shot 29. With the playoff victory, Lebo notched his fourth win of the PPA season.
White earned and accepted spots for both the North Carolina State Championship and North Carolina Match Play Championship. Manfred Stewart took the two-day spot offered this weekend for the North Carolina State Championship.
A very close battle for victory also ensued in the amateur division. Jeff Carr's final-round 23 propelled him to a 54-hole total of 76 and a hard-fought one-stroke victory over reigning APA National Champion Ricky D. Schults, Amy Smith, and Conway Coffey.
Action began in the amateur division with Schults, Smith, and Lynchburg Junior Putters Association team standout Ryan Carter surging to the lead with first-round 25's. A stroke back in a tie for fourth place at 26 were Malcolm Shumaker, local player Wade Driskill, and Dennis Biesma.
Scoring tightened even further after the second round of play in the amateur division. Schults, a seven-stroke victor in the previous day's event, shot 26 to move to 51 and sole possession of the lead. Alone in second position at 52 was Carter. Carr's second-round 25 moved him into contention at 53, tied for third place with Smith, Coffey, Shumaker, Biesma, and recently-crowned Palmetto Classic Champion Frankie Peters, whose second-round 23 would match Carr's final-round 23 for the low amateur round of the day.
The final round became an epic battle between some of the amateur division heavyweights. Playing in early groups, Schults and the recently-resurgent Smith, who posted a final-round 24, established 77 as the 54-hole total to beat. Several groups behind, Carr caught fire and shot a sizzling third-round 23, enough to take the 54-hole clubhouse lead at 76. Still on the course, Coffey was the last amateur with an opportunity to capture Carr. Unfortunately, Coffey barely missed his ace effort on the final hole and fell a stroke short of forcing a playoff.
Carr's 54-hole total of 76 gave him his third win of the 2005 PPA season and his first career Virginia PPA Tour win. Schults, Smith, and Coffey shared second place at 77. The runner-up finish brings Coffey's second-place tally to seven in the nine Virginia PPA Tour events in which he has played this season. Alone in fifth place at 79 was Peters. Shumaker and Carter, who tied for sixth place at 81, earned the final amateur expense reimbursement spots. Peters accepted the two-day spot offered this weekend for the North Carolina State Championship.
In Old Dominion Cup action in the amateur division, Shumaker, Biesma, and Barry Moore captured their fourth title in as many events this season. The Lynchburg squad of Coffey, John Petrie, and Randy Baldwin, sans Baldwin for this tournament, finished in second place.
The Virginia and North Carolina PPA Tours would like to extend thanks and express great appreciation to Joe Aboid and his staff for welcoming both tours to their beautiful Lynchburg, VA facility and hosting a weekend of very successful tour events. The North Carolina PPA Tour resumes play on June 18 and 19 with 54-hole events on course # 1 in Asheboro, NC. The events begin at noon on Saturday, June 18 and at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, June 19. The Virginia PPA Tour returns to action on June 25 and 26 on course # 3 in Richmond, Virginia. Play for the 54-hole event on Saturday, June 25 will begin at noon. The 108-hole Virginia Open, the Virginia PPA Tour's second major tournament of the season, will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, June 26.
Scores and Article provided by Brad Lebo and Rick Rybaczek.