Brad Lebo Wins the
2006 PPA National Championship

Brad Lebo opens the 2006 PPA National Championship with the first of his 198 putts over eight rounds of competition

7 July 2006 - Martinez, GA - Course owner and host PPA professional Mark Ross welcomed the PPA National Tour to the sprawling and immaculately-maintained Red and Blue Courses at the Martinez, GA Putt-Putt Fun Center to contest the two-day, 144-hole 2006 PPA National Championship. The Martinez facility, widely regarded as one of the country's best tournament venues, has played host to many prominent PPA Tour events. A field of 57 of the nation's top professional putters vied for the sport's most coveted and prestigious title.

Brad Lebo, a 45-year old dentist from Shippensburg, PA, broke away from the field by firing a penultimate-round 22 on the Red Course to establish a six-stroke lead over 2000 PPA National Match Play Champion Kevin Lacey and four-time Texas State Champion Rainey Statum with one round remaining in the event. Lebo withstood an early final-round charge from Statum, who aced holes 2 through 12 in the last round en route to an eighth-round 23, to earn a two-stroke victory and the first major PPA National Tour title of his career. With consistent rounds of 24, 27, 25, 25, 24, 24, 22, and 27, Lebo posted a 90-under par 144-hole total of 198. Despite prudently laying up the final four holes of the tournament for tap-in deuces, Lebo's win was a complete one, as he shot tournament-low 72-hole totals of 95 and 103 on the Red and Blue Courses, respectively. Statum settled for runner-up honors at 200. By recording a stellar second-day 72-hole score of 99, 2004 PPA National Player of the Year John Bambling climbed up the final leaderboard into third place at 205. At 207, first-day co-leader Lacey and 2003 PPA Classic Champion Greg Newport shared fourth position. Defending champion Jay Klapper completed the event in a five-way tie for tenth place at 212.

Tournament action began under overcast skies with Klapper picking up where he left off in his 2005 PPA National Championship run. Klapper fired an opening-round 23 to join Texan Wade Sahmel in the first-round lead. Nine more players, including Lebo, were deadlocked in a third-place logjam at 24. Scoring continued to be bunched after 36 holes of play. Sahmel maintained a share of the second-round lead at 51, tied with Lebo, recently-crowned PPA Classic Champion Rick Culverhouse, 1993 PPA National Champion Andy Coradini, and veteran pro Tom O'Brien. Carding a tournament-low round of 21 in the third round, Statum leapfrogged into sole possession of the 54-hole lead at 74. Lacey used a third-round 23 to move into second position at 75 after 54 holes, with Lebo another stroke behind in third place at 76. O'Brien and Sahmel dropped into joint fourth position at 77. In the fourth round, Lebo shot a solid 25 to maneuver back into a share of the 72-hole lead with Lacey at 101. Statum hovered a stroke behind the leaders, in third place at 102. At 104, 1975 PPA National Player of the Year Dan Anders held fourth position. A quartet of players, including Newport, PPA Hall of Fame member Greg Ward, 2001 PPA National Match Play Champion Vince Batten, and host PPA professional Mark Ross entered the final day in a tie for fifth place at 105.

As final-day play commenced on the Red Course, the day's final threesome of Lebo, Lacey, and Statum began to create some separation between themselves and the rest of the field. Lebo posted a fifth-round 24 to take the 90-hole lead alone at 125. Matching Lebo's fifth-round 24, Statum pulled into a second-place tie with Lacey at 126. With a fifth-round 23, Newport remained in contention, in fourth position at 128. A four-way, fifth-place tie at 130 after five rounds included Bambling, Ward, Anders, and Coradini, who equaled Newport's fifth-round 23. 1979 PPA National Player of the Year Joel Baker recorded a brilliant fifth-round 21 to tie Statum for low round of the championship.

In the sixth round, Lebo carded his second-consecutive round of 24 to open up a two-shot 108-hole lead at 149. Lacey shot 25 to assume second place at 151. At 152, Statum stood in third position. By virtue of a sizzling sixth-round 23, Anders soared into fourth place at 153. Bambling fired his second 24 of the day to remain in fifth position at 153.

The critical juncture of the tournament may have come at the fourth hole in the seventh round of play. Having aced two of the first three holes to begin the round, Lebo's tee shot grazed the tip of a brick adjacent to the cup on the fourth hole. Faced with a deuce putt in which the corner of brick partially obstructed the line between his ball and the hole, Lebo drew upon his extensive practice on the course to negotiate the difficult deuce putt successfully. Energized by the important deuce save, Lebo aced the next nine holes and ultimately recorded a seventh-round 22 to seize a six-stroke lead at 171 with one round remaining in the event. Bunched in a second-place tie at 177 were the trio of Statum, Lacey, and Bambling, who continued his outstanding second-day performance by firing 23 in the seventh round. Newport and Ward each shot 24 in the seventh round to enter the final round tied for fifth position at 180.

The final round began with Statum and Lacey each making a spirited charge at the lead. Lacey started the round by acing the first five holes to move within four strokes of Lebo, who played the first five holes three-under par. As Lacey's torrid pace cooled in the remainder of the round, Statum was just beginning to catch fire and the tournament essentially developed in a two-player battle between Lebo and Statum. After deucing the first hole, Statum made holes-in-one on the next eleven holes. Lebo fought valiantly, acing holes 2-4 and 7-11 to move to eight-under par after eleven holes. After Lebo deuced the challenging 12th hole, however, his lead was cut to to three strokes. Statum's spectacular ace run came to end with a deuce on the 13th hole. Lebo took full advantage of the opportunity, acing the 13th to improve his lead to four strokes. Lebo and Statum exchanged deuces on the 14th hole. Up by four strokes with honors on the tee of the dangerous 15th hole, Lebo played conservatively, laying up his tee shot off of the back rail for a one-inch tap-in deuce. Statum equaled Lebo's deuce on the 15th, giving Lebo the luxury of making deuces on the final three holes to secure victory. Lebo accordingly strategically laid up the final three holes for tap-in pars to earn a two-stroke victory with a 144-hole total of 198. In the process, Lebo captured his first career major PPA National Tour title and the $3,000.00 winner's check.

With a final-round 23, Statum easily notched runner-up honors at 202. Bambling finished in third place at 205. At 207, Newport and Lacey shared fourth position. Ward completed the event in sixth at 208. Another stroke back in seventh place at 209 was Anders. Batten courageously overcame a fifth-round 30 on the Red Course to finish in eighth place at 210. The field's elder statesman, two-time PPA National Champion Vance Randall, recorded a final-day 72-hole total of 101 to pole-vault into ninth position at 211. A five-way, tenth-place tie at 212 included Klapper, Coradini, Baker, O'Brien, and five-time Texas State Champion Jeffrey Smith. The cash line for the 45 money spots awarded in the tournament fell at a 144-hole score of 223.

The PPA National Tour wishes to extend its collective thanks and gratitude to course owner and host PPA professional Mark Ross and his staff for graciously welcoming the tour to the beautiful Martinez, GA Putt-Putt Fun Center for a very successful PPA National Championship week. The tour membership greatly appreciated the diligence and dedication with which Ross and his staff prepared and maintained the courses and property prior to and during the long week of tournament play. The 2006 PPA National Tour schedule concluded with the completion of the 2006 PPA National Championship week.

Leaders of 2006 PPA National Championship by Round

1st Round LeadersJay Klapper and Wade Sahmel23 (13 under par)
2nd Round LeadersWade Sahmel, Brad Lebo, Tom O'Brien, Rick Culverhouse and Andy Coradini51 (21 under par)
3rd Round LeaderRainey Statum74 (34 under par)
4th Round LeadersKevin Lacey and Brad Lebo101 (43 under par)
5th Round LeaderBrad Lebo125 (55 under par)
6th Round LeaderBrad Lebo149 (67 under par)
7th Round LeaderBrad Lebo171 (81 under par)

Hole by Hole Averages from the 2006 PPA National Championship
Blue Course

Avg. Score1.571.311.921.101.771.931.281.321.541.751.411.901.341.321.961.681.551.68

Hole by Hole Averages from the 2006 PPA National Championship
Red Course

Avg. Score1.401.431.241.761.751.161.691.531.511.611.851.171.501.491.021.291.931.11

Easiest hole marked in light blue, hardest hole in yellow (courtesy of Frank Warren).

Scoreboard from the 2006 PPA National Championship
(Martinez, GA - 6-7 July 2006)

  Round Prize
 Player12345678Total Money 
1Brad Lebo 2427252524242227198 $ 3,000.00
2Rainey Statum 2627212824262523200 $ 2,000.00
3John Bambling 2528252824242328205 $ 1,600.00
4Greg Newport 2528242723282428207 $ 1,200.00
 Kevin Lacey 2527232625252630207 $ 1,200.00
6Greg Ward 2927252425262428208 $ 1,000.00
7Dan Anders 2629242526232828209 $    900.00
8Vince Batten 2429272530242328210 $    850.00
9Vance Randall 2633252623262626211 $    800.00
10Jay Klapper 2329312725252527212 $    650.00
 Andy Coradini 2625272923272629212 $    650.00
 Joel Baker 2730252821262728212 $    650.00
 Tom O'Brien 2427262927282427212 $    650.00
 Jeffrey Smith 2629272624282527212 $    650.00
15Randy Reeves 2629272822292824213 $    475.00
 Nate Nichols 2925272625332325213 $    475.00
17Peter Neumann 2827262826302524214 $    387.50
 Rick Baird 2827262926262428214 $    387.50
 Tony Jackson 2628282924292723214 $    387.50
 Robb Titchell 2727272725272826214 $    387.50
21Bill Baus 2930252827242626215 $    335.00
 Wade Sahmel 2328263026262828215 $    335.00
23Bill Kirby, Jr. 2628282827272626216 $    306.25
 Rick Culverhouse 2427293125242828216 $    306.25
 Bob Davis 2629262823282729216 $    306.25
 Charlie Greenwalt 2430312823262529216 $    306.25
27Daryl Freeman 2629233025272730217 $    282.50
 Gary English 2629273028232727217 $    282.50
 Frank Warren 2829243228272227217 $    282.50
 Lee Messinger 2428263026312428217 $    282.50
31James Taylor 2827282926282824218 $    262.50
 Randy Orr 2729272726272827218 $    262.50
 Ricky Schults 2428293126272528218 $    262.50
 Michael Hitt 2528243424302528218 $    262.50
35Rusty Taylor 3026262625322628219 $    250.00
36Paul Johns 3029282426292628220 $    247.50
 Mark Ross 2628252627292831220 $    247.50
38Cliff Matthews 2528252829342329221 $    239.00
 Robert Johnson 2529292727312528221 $    239.00
 Lewis Burton 2828282727312824221 $    239.00
 Darrell Britt 2530272724292732221 $    239.00
 Jerry Pinotti 2828253323282828221 $    239.00
43Dom Perry 2729262834312225222 $    230.00
 James Weber 2530293027272727222 $    230.00
45Tony Varnadore 2430283126302529223 $    225.00
46Rick Rybaczek 3130262629322626226 
47Mark Hasty 2529243125372729227 
 Matthew Summey 2627283029302730227 
49Roger Beckerman 3128292824303327230 
 Allen Wall 2630272926312932230 
51Mike Baldoza 2734323226252530231 
52Russell Sigmon, Jr. 2433293227282831232 
53Robert Ward, Jr. 3031282831312529233 
54Robin Ventura3232293025323025235 
55Steve Toomey 2930302832302733239 
56Paul Pastilong 3430282928273433243 
57Danny Tatum3035323335413332271 


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