29 July 2006 - Roanoke, VA - Junior Putters from around the country gathered in Roanoke, VA this weekend for the 2006 Junior Putters of America National Championships.
Arriving early in the week on their quest to defend their National Teams Title, the veteran 2005 JPA National Teams Champions from Springfield, OH mastered the course once again, successfully defending their title to become the first team in a number of years to win back to back JPA Team Championships.
In individual competition, Logan Whitton from Richmond, VA ruled the course, taking the lead in the opening round on the way to a wire to wire victory.
2006 JPA National Championship Teams and Coaches
Teams of four from Putt-Putt Courses in Springfield, Burlington, Lynchburg, Richmond and Roanoke competed in four rounds of individual medal play competition. Each team member's round scores were added together to come up with the team's score for each of the four rounds.
Defending 2005 JPA Individual National Champion Tyler Lacey from Springfield, OH lead the field of 24 players to the tees on Saturday morning under partly cloudy skies and heavy humidity. At the end of 18 holes, Whitton held a one stroke lead at 27 over Andy Dolan from Springfield and Robbie Stallings from Burlington. Aaron Hill from Lynchburg was two strokes back, followed by Lacey, Ryan Carter, Kaley Thomas and Sean Pate at 31.
After opening round action, Team Springfield was leading the team competition at 125, four strokes in front of Lynchburg 2, with Lynchburg 1 only one more stroke back at 130.
With a second round 7 under par, Whitton held the two round lead at 56, extended his lead to 3 strokes over a charging Jacob Arthur, who after a rough start at only 2 under par posted a great second round 11 under par. Dolan was next at 60, with Carter and Thomas still lurking only one more stroke back at 61.
Thanks to Arthur's great second round and a solid round from his teammates, Lynchburg 1 catapulted into the lead after two rounds at 249, two strokes in front of Springfield. Lynchburg 2 fell off the pace but was still holding the third spot at 271.
Whitton fired his best round of the day in the third round, posting 10 under par for the round and held the 54 hole lead at 82. Arthur was now four strokes back, with Carter two more strokes back at 88. Lacey fired the field's low round of the day at 12 under par in the third round, moving himself into a tie with Thomas at 89.
After a strong third round by Lynchburg 1, the team extended their lead to four strokes over Springfield. Lynchburg 1 was in at 366, with Springfield hot on their tails at 370. Lynchburg 2 was still holding on to the third spot at a distant 411, setting up the final round shootout between the top two powerhouse teams.
After a short break to repair the field, the players went back to the tees for the final round in inverse order.
2006 JPA Individual National Champion
Carter and Whitton battled it out, matching front nine scores at four under par. In the lead group with Carter and Whitton, Arthur fell off the pace, only shooting par on the front nine. Whitton's pace slowed a little as they made the turn mid-way through the back nine with a bogey on the tough three pipe Hole 13, and Carter took advantage. Carter put forth a valiant clubhouse charge, acing four of his last 6 holes to post a final round 9 under par, but he would fall short of Whitton who maintained through the final holes to finish at 112 for a three stroke win over Carter.
Lacey continued his torrid pace from the third round, firing a final round 8 under par to finish tied third at 117 with teammate Drew McEnaney who posted a final round 10 under par. Arthur and Thomas finished tied fifth at 119.
2006 JPA Team National Champions
The final round charge by Lacey and McEnaney leapfrogged the defending champs from Springfield into the top spot after four rounds, finishing with a team score of 491 and a three stroke victory over Lynchburg 1. Lynchburg 2 was a distant third at 553. A last round surge by Richmond moved them into a tie for the fourth spot at 556 with the team from Burlington, with host team Roanoke sixth at 570.
In the post tournament awards ceremony, each team member received a participation trophy for their hard work in preparing for the 2006 National Championship. Winning team trophies were awarded to Team Springfield, and individual trophies were awarded to Logan Whitton and runner-up Ryan Carter.
On a somber note, long-time Springfield Coach Leroy Lacey who coached the National Championship team from Springfield, OH announced his retirement from the JPA program. A driving force in the National JPA program for many years, he will be sorely missed by all. On behalf of Amputters.com and the PPA, we wish him well and our many, many thanks for years of faithful support of the program.
The PPA would also like to thank David Mitchell and his staff at Roanoke for all the hard work and preparation that went into hosting the 2006 JPA National Championships.