24 April 2005 - Roanoke, VA - For the second consecutive day, the Virginia PPA Tour contested a 54-hole tournament on course # 2 in Roanoke, VA in unseasonably cold and windy conditions. Intermittent strong winds and snow showers challenged the patience and stamina of the field. The players generally adapted well, as the bulk of the day's scoring was improved over that of the previous day's event. Brad Lebo fired unspectacular but consistent rounds of 27, 26, and 27 for a 54-hole total of 80 and a closely-contested one-stroke victory over defending champion Vince Batten and Bart Bason. The win was Lebo's second of the PPA season.
Brad Lebo Earns Second Victory of
2005 PPA Season by One Stroke over Batten and Bason
Play opened with Batten continuing his stellar play from the previous day's event, as he fired an opening-round 24 to assume a three-stroke lead over Lebo, Rick Rybaczek, and Martinsville standout Randal Smith, who each shot 27. Gilbert Sharpe was another stroke back at 28.
Winner of 2005 PPA Virginia State Tour Event in Roanoke, VA
The tricky winds halted Batten's momentum in the second round. Lebo and Rybaczek posted second-round 26's to move into a tie for the lead at 53. Bason's flawless 25 vaulted him into a third place tie at 54 with Smith, who fired another 27. At 55 and two strokes off the lead in fifth place, Batten still was in good position to stalk a second consecutive win in Roanoke. Gary Moore's blistering second-round 24 moved him back into contention, tied with Randy Reeves at 57.
Predictably, Batten rebounded strongly from his second-round misfortunes and shot a final-round 26. Playing in the first group of the day, Batten posted a 54-hole total of 81, which became the target score for the penultimate threesome of Lebo, Bason, and Smith, as well as Rybaczek, who was playing in the day's final group.
Coming down the stretch, Lebo aced holes 14 and 15 to move into a tie with Batten. Bason made a spirited closing charge, as he aced holes 14, 15, and 16 to pull into a tie with Lebo and Batten. After an aggressive tee shot sailed past the hole, Lebo made a challenging uphill, angled deuce putt on hole 16 to remain tied with Batten and Bason. As the wind pulled Bason's ace effort on hole 17 to the left of the hole, Lebo seized the opportunity and aced hole 17 behind Bason. With a one stroke lead over Batten and Bason, Lebo's final-hole ace effort narrowly missed, opening the door for Bason to force a playoff. When Bason's ace attempt missed to the right, Lebo's one-stroke victory was secured. Lebo fired a final-round 27 for a 54-hole total of 80. Batten and Bason finished tie for second, a stroke back at 81. Smith's third-round 28 secured fourth place at 82, with Rybaczek rounding out the top five at 83. Rusty Taylor made a dramatic move in the final round, shooting a brilliant 24 to move into sixth place at 84. Eight money spots were awarded for this tournament, with a score of 86 resulting in a two-way split of the final money spot.
One qualifying spot for the 2005 World Match Play Championship was awarded by the Virginia PPA Tour this weekend to the player with the lowest two-day total who did not already have two such qualifying spots. That qualifying spot went to Gary Moore, who shot a two-day total of 169 (84-85) to earn the spot by one stroke over Manfred Stewart.
In the amateur division, tour neophyte Brandon Whitton of Richmond, VA secured the first APA victory of his young career by shooting steady rounds of 29, 27, and 28 for a 54-hole total of 84 and a three-stroke victory over perennial contender Conway Coffey. Barry Moore assumed the first round lead at 27, a stroke better than Wade Driskill and two strokes better than the trio of Whitton, Coffey, and Amy Smith. As Moore struggled in round two, Whitton fired 27 to move into the lead with a 36-hole total of 56, two shots clear of Bill Petrie and Driskill, who were at 58. Still in contention in a tie for fourth place at 60 were Coffey and Smith. For the second consecutive day, Coffey made a final-round charge, catching Whitton at the turn of the final round. As well, defending champion Dennis Biesma was making up for a lackluster start to his day by crafting a final-round 25 to creep within several strokes of Whitton. But the talented teen would not be rattled, as Whitton managed to fire 28 in the tension-filled third round for a 54-hole total of 84 and secure the three-stroke win. Coffey finished second at 87. Biesma and Bill Petrie tied for third at 88. Moore rebounded from his second-round difficulties to fire a third-round 27 and finish fifth at 89.
In the amateur division's Old Dominion Cup competition, the team of Malcolm Shumaker, Barry Moore, and Dennis Biesma earned its second consecutive victory with a score of 172, three strokes better than the second place team of John Petrie, Conway Coffey, and Randy Baldwin.
The Virginia PPA Tour would like to extend thanks and express its appreciation to course owner David Mitchell and his staff for their gracious hosting of a successful weekend at the Roanoke, VA facility. The next events on the Virginia PPA Tour are scheduled for May 14 and 15 on course # 2 in Charlottesville, VA. A 54-hole VA PPA event will begin at noon on Saturday, May 14. The Dogwood Festival Open, the VA PPA's first major tournament of the season, will begin at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, May 15.
Scores and Article provided by Brad Lebo.