12 August 2006 - Fredericksburg, VA - Sunny skies and pleasant temperatures greeted the Virginia PPA Tour for its final weekend visit to course # 3 in Fredericksburg, VA. With the property recently having been sold to a land developer, the picturesque Putt-Putt facility will close permanently this autumn. 2006 PPA National Champion and defending champion Brad Lebo fired steady bogey-free rounds of 25, 27, and 25 for a 54-hole total of 77 to tie 2003 Virginia State Champion Gilbert Sharpe for the clubhouse lead after completion of regulation play. Lebo took a commanding early lead on Sharpe in the ensuing 18-hole play-off and held on to defeat Sharpe, 25-28. The victory was Lebo's fourth of the 2006 PPA season. 2006 Dogwood Open Champion Vince Batten finished in third place at 78. 2005 Virginia State Champion Darrell Anderson and the white-hot Rick Baird shared fourth position at 82.
Action commenced with Lebo seizing the opening-round lead at 25. Batten and 2004 Virginia State Champion Matt Summey were tied for second place at 26. Grouped in a fourth-place tie at 27 were Sharpe, Anderson, and Baird.
Despite a pedestrian second-round 27, Lebo maintained a one-stroke 36-hole lead at 52. With a second-round 26, Sharpe leapfrogged into second position at 53. Lurking in a third-place tie at 54 were Batten and Anderson. Dave Taylor and 2006 Virginia Open Champion Greg Newport remained within striking distance of the lead, tied for fourth place at 55.
Playing in the first pairing of the day, Lebo posted a solid final-round 25 to establish the clubhouse lead at 77. Cognizant of his status, Sharpe made a courageous closing charge, acing his final five holes of regulation play to tie Lebo and force an 18-hole play-off. Batten staged a brilliant clubhouse run of his own, but fell one stroke short of joining the play-off and settled for a third-place finish at 78. At 82, Anderson and Baird rounded out the event's top five finishers. The cash line for the eight money spots awarded in the tournament fell at 85.
In the subsequent 18-hole play-off, Lebo darted out to an early lead. Lebo carded an outward-nine score of 12, while Sharpe struggled to a 16. Sharpe fought back heroically on the inward nine, but Lebo continued his steady play and ultimately defeated Sharpe in the play-off, 25-28. The win was Lebo's fourth of the 2006 PPA season.
In the amateur division, 1999 Virginia APA State Champion Malcolm Shumaker crafted a brilliant final-round 22 to surge past the 36-hole leaders and record a two-stroke victory over defending champion Conway Coffey and tour beau brummel James Walker. Shumaker posted rounds of 27, 32, and 22 for a 54-hole total of 81, earning him his third APA victory of the 2006 season. Second-round leader Mike Matthews completed the day in fourth position at 85. At 89, 2003 APA National Champion Bonnie White rounded out the top five amateur finishers.
Play began in the amateur division with Shumaker and Matthews grabbing the opening-round lead at 27. Coffey percolated a first-round 28 to move into third place. At 29, Walker stood alone in fourth position. A fifth-place tie at 30 included White and JPA standout Ryan Carter.
Disaster struck for Shumaker in the tournament's second round, as he fired a middle-round 32 to seemingly fall out of contention. Matthews carded his second-consecutive 27 to take sole possession of the 36-hole lead at 54. Coffey and Walker jumped into a second-place tie at 56. A trio of players bunched in a fourth-place tie at 59 included Shumaker, White, and Ryan Carter.
Shumaker regrouped and rebounded with authority from his second-round woes, carding a perfect 9 on his final nine holes of the day. His third-round 22, the low round of the weekend in the entire field, gave him a 54-hole total of 81 and his third APA victory of the 2006 season. Coffey canned a final-round 27 to tie Walker for second place at 83. Matthews struggled to a third-round 31 and fell into fourth position at 85. At 89, White finished in fifth place and secured the final amateur division expense reimbursement spot awarded in the event.
In a pre-tournament ceremony, the Virginia PPA Tour membership presented a commemorative plaque to course manager Barbara Hall to recognize her many years of graciously welcoming the Virginia PPA Tour to the beautiful Fredericksburg Putt-Putt facility and hosting tour events on one of the top tournament courses in the country. Hall and her father, Tom Naggs, have hosted Virginia PPA Tour events every year since the tour's inception. The annual tour stop in Fredericksburg will be missed greatly by the Virginia PPA Tour membership.
The Virginia PPA Tour will return to action with tour's third major tournament of the season, the 72-hole Virginia Putting Classic, to be contested on course # 3 in Fredericksburg, VA beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, August 13.