Vince Batten Defeats Brad Lebo 21-22 in Playoff for Victory17 September 2005 - Richmond, VA - In the second of two 54-hole events played on course # 3 in Richmond, Virginia on the eve of the Virginia State Championship, rising temperatures and increasing afternoon sunshine and winds caused the drying and fluffing of the course's carpet fibers, resulting in a general increase in field scoring over that of the day's earlier tournament. The event ultimately became an epic battle for 2005 Virginia PPA Tour supremacy between Player of the Year front-runner Vince Batten, who recently penetrated the impregnable quadrilateral of a Virginia PPA Tour career grand slam of major tournaments with his win in the 2005 Virginia Putting Classic, and 2005 Virginia Open Champion Brad Lebo, who lurked just one Player of the Year point behind Batten entering the event. Batten and Lebo finished tied for the lead after 54 holes of regulation play with a 54-hole total of 69.
In the subsequent 18-hole play-off, Batten and Lebo each aced 13 of the first 16 holes. Lebo could not match Batten's ace on the fickle 17th hole, and Batten's ace with honors on the 18th hole secured a play-off victory. Lebo's meaningless ace on the 18th hole made the final score of the play-off 21-22 in favor of Batten. The win was Batten's fifth of the 2005 PPA season, and positioned him two Player of the Year points ahead of Lebo with only the Virginia State Championship remaining on the tour schedule.
Action began with Batten firing a sizzling opening-round 21 to take a one-stroke lead over defending champion Daryl Freeman, who in the day's earlier event on the same course set a new 54-hole PPA scoring record of 63. Manfred Stewart and Rusty Taylor hovered another stroke back, tied for third position at 23. Lebo fired a first-round 24 to assume solo fifth position.
Lebo made a significant move up the leader board by posting a second-round 23, pulling into a tie for the 36-hole lead with Batten and Freeman at 47. In fourth place at 48, Stewart lurked just a stroke off of the lead. By each firing consecutive 25's, Bart Bason and 2004 PPA National Doubles Champion Rick Rybaczek were three strokes off of the pace and tied for fourth place at 50.
In the final round, the tournament developed into a battle between Batten, Lebo, and Stewart, as the trio separated from the remainder of the field. Stewart was the first of the three to complete play and aced his final hole of regulation play to fire a third-round 22 and establish the clubhouse lead at a 54-hole total of 70. Lebo aced the 17th hole to move one stroke ahead of Stewart and successfully negotiated a lengthy breaking deuce putt on the 18th hole to match Stewart's final-round 22 and take the lead at a 54-hole total of 69. Batten aced 13 of his first 15 holes in the third round before deucing holes 16 and 17. Fully aware that he needed a hole-in-one to force a play-off, Batten confidently aced the 18th hole to post a final-round 22 and 54-hole total of 69. A victor would be decided in an 18-hole play-off. Stewart finished alone in third position at 70. Rybaczek and Bason tied for fourth place at 74. 1996 PPA National Champion Mike Brown rebounded from a disappointing first-round 29 with consecutive 23's to finish alone in sixth position at 75. The cash line for the eleven money spots awarded in the tournament fell at 79.
In the 18-hole play-off, Batten moved to an early two-stroke lead after three holes as Lebo deuced holes 2 and 3. Lebo rebounded to ace the final six holes on the front nine, seizing the lead at the turn, 11-12. Each player aced the first four holes of the back nine. After Lebo left his ace effort a roll short of the hole on hole 14, Batten aced to square the match. The players each aced holes 15 and 16, remaining tied at 13-under par after 16 holes. Batten seized a one-stroke lead by acing the 17th hole. With honors, Batten aced the 18th hole to shoot a perfect 9 on the back nine and secure the win. Lebo's subsequent ace on the 18th hole made the final score of the play-off 21-22 in favor of Batten. The victory was Batten's fifth of the 2005 PPA season.
For the second consecutive tournament, the winner of the amateur division was determined in an 18-hole play-off. 2003 PPA National Champion Bonnie White grabbed a two-stroke lead after 36 holes at 49, and held on with a final-round 28 to tie Barry Moore for the lead at 77 after 54 holes of regulation play. It would be the second play-off of the day for Moore, as he lost in a play-off in the day's earlier event. White outlasted Moore in the tightly-contested 18-hole play-off, prevailing 27-29. The victory was White's fourth of the 2005 season.
Play commenced in the amateur division with four players moving to the top of the crowded leader board. White, Moore, James Walker, and local amateur stalwart Amy Smith completed the opening round in a four-way tie for the lead at 24. Stalking the leaders in a tie for fifth place at 26 were Malcolm Shumaker and Dennis Biesma.
White continued her outstanding play in the second round, posting a second-round 25 to take sole possession of the lead with a 36-hole total of 49. A four-way tie for second place at 51 after 36 holes included Moore, Shumaker, Walker, and Smith.
In the final round, White's sizzling pace cooled a bit, as she fired a third-round 28 to tie for the lead with a 54-hole total of 77 with Moore, who shot a solid third-round 26. The event's winner would be determined in an 18-hole play-off. With a third-round 26, Brandon Whitton soared into third place at 78. Shumaker finished in fourth position at 80. Rounding out the final amateur expense reimbursement spots were Walker and 2005 AmPutters.com Classic Champion Jeff Carr, winner of the day's earlier event, who tied for fifth place at 81.
In a roller coaster 18-hole play-off, Moore took an early two-stroke lead after acing the first three holes. White rebounded by acing the next four holes. After a bogey by Moore on the 7th hole, White enjoyed a two-stroke lead. Her lead was short-lived, however, as White bogeyed the 9th hole. The duo made the turn tied at 14. White aced hole 12 to move one stroke ahead of Moore. The players matched cards through hole 17. With honors, White made an ace on the final hole and secured the victory. White won the play-off over Moore by a final tally of 27-29.
The Virginia PPA Tour returns to action for its final tournament of the 2005 season, the 108-hole Virginia State Championship, on course # 3 in Richmond, Virginia beginning at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday, September 18.
Tournament scores from Rick Rybaczek and summary by Brad Lebo.