9 April 2005 - Richmond, VA - The Virginia PPA Tour opened it's 2005 schedule today with a 54-hole event on course # 3 in Richmond, Virginia. A warm, sunny but blustery spring day awaited a field of 26 professional and 15 amateur contestants. The steady and significant winds resulted in uncharacteristically high scoring by the field on a course which generally yields many low scores. Brad Lebo managed his game in the difficult conditions to shoot three bogey-free rounds of 24, 22, and 25 for a 54-hole total of 71 and secure a five-stroke victory over pre-tournament favorite Vince Batten. Lebo's victory marks the second consecutive season in which he has won the VA PPA season-opening event.
Brad Lebo Fires 71 to Capture
2005 PPA Virginia State Tour Opener
Winner of 2005 PPA Virginia State Tour Event in Richmond, VA
In the opening round of the tournament, Lebo, Batten, and Jeff Spainhour each shot 24 to move into a tie for the early lead. Daryl Freeman was alone in fourth place at 26, while Tom O'Brien, Manfred Stewart, and Russell Sigmon, Jr. were lurking at 27.
As the winds increased during the second round of play, only two players would manage to break 50 after two rounds. Lebo shot a tournament-low 22 to move into sole possession of the lead at 46, with Spainhour at 48 and Batten at 50. Jon Drexler rebounded nicely from a disappointing first-round 31 to match Lebo's second-round score of 22 and move into a tie for fourth place with reigning Virginia State Champion Matt Summey at 53.
After a pedestrian start to the final round, Lebo refocused to ace the last four holes of the tournament for a final-round 25, resulting in a final score of 71 and his first victory of the young PPA season. Batten finished second at 76, with Spainhour in third at 77. Freeman was the only other player to break 80 in the tournament, finishing fourth at 79. Rounding out the top five were Summey and Stewart, who finished at 81. The cash line for the thirteen money spots awarded in the tournament came at 85.
In the amateur division, Barry Moore captured his third victory of the PPA season in a dramatic playoff win over Conway Coffey on the sixth hole of sudden death. Malcolm Shumaker seized the early lead in the amateur division with a first-round 26 to lead by one stroke over Coffey, Chuck Dibbs, and Mike Matthews. Shumaker moved to 53 after the second round of play and widened his lead to three strokes over Matthews and Moore, who were at 56. After shooting 11 on the front nine of the third round, Shumaker seemingly was in complete command. But disaster struck for Shumaker on hole 10 of the final round, resulting in an eventual back nine 23 which would take him out of contention. As the door opened for the rest of the field, Moore and Coffey took advantage and would finish tied for the lead at 85. Shumaker held on to finish third at 87. Fourth place went to Matthews at 88. Rounding out the top five were Dibbs and Dennis Biesma, who each finished at 89. The first-place 18-hole playoff between Moore and Coffey ended deadlocked at 27, and the players moved to sudden death to determine a winner. After each missing the first hole in sudden death, Moore and Coffey matched aces on the next four holes. After Moore aced the sixth hole, Coffey received an untimely slide off of the left rail and missed the hole to the left, securing the victory for Moore.
In a brief pre-tournament ceremony, VA PPA tour chairman Gary Hinshaw presented several awards for the 2004 VA PPA season. In the professional division, Brad Lebo received the 2004 VA PPA Player of the Year and Low Stroke Average Awards, which he won in an extremely close season-long battle with Vince Batten. Dennis Biesma received the 2004 Player of the Year and Low Stroke Average Awards for the amateur division. Awarded by a vote of their peers on the Virginia tour, much-deserved 2004 Sportsmanship Awards were presented to professional Gary Hinshaw and amateur James LeBrun.
The Virginia tour will return to action with another 54-hole event on course # 3 in Richmond, Virginia beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, April 10, 2005.
Scores and Article provided by Brad Lebo.