Lacey has played every tournament on the Northern Putting Tour this season, totaling eight. And he was won four of them, the most recent the Switzer Classic on the challenging Course 1. Lacey won $270 for his efforts in the tourney, which was a six-round major featuring 23 pros, the largest turnout of the season.
He had to come from way back to do it, as Lacey shot 91 in the first three rounds of the tourney, tying him for 14th place. He was 10 strokes behind leader Dave Nutini, who was playing his first tour weekend since 2005.
Nutini, the 2002 Great Lakes Tour champion, shot an impressive 81, leading by four strokes over a quintet of competitors. That included PPA Hall of Fame member Roger Beckerman, 1990 National Champion Steve Haeseker, 2006 NPT Medal Play Champion Robb Titchell, 2005 Great Lakes Tour Champion John Bambling and 2002 APA Northern Open winner James Weber. Beckerman, Haeseker and Titchell were in the same threesome to start the tourney.
However, none of those six players would be in the top three at tourneys end. All except Haeseker would end up tied for fourth with a 176 as scoring went up after the lunch break. After 12 players broke 90 during the first three rounds, only three pros could do it in the second half.
After the break, Nutini shot a pair of 33s, but was still within four strokes of the lead at 147 entering the final round.
Lacey started his comeback with rounds of 27 and 26 and went into the last 18 at 144, tied with Beckerman for second. They were one stroke behind Neumann who shot 57 for two rounds to take the lead at 143.
Lacey begin his round with three aces the first four holes, but took a 5 on the tricky 5th hole, a dropoff to a square plateau. He rebounded to finish the round with a 29 and waited out the leaders.
They couldnt catch him, as Nutini (29) and Weber (28) were the only ones among the multiple contenders to break 30 the final round. Neumann shot a 31 and missed his final three holes, keeping him from tying Lacey.
Williams and Bambling claimed their spots for the NPT Match play finals. Bambling won an 18-hole playoff with Nutini and Titchell.
Among the highlights of the tourney were the return to state tour action of Haeseker, who lives near the course; and Tom Butler, winner of two national majors - the 1990 Commissioners Cup and 1992 Hall of Fame Classic.
The APA tourney featured little drama, as Springfield local Scott Copeland easily claimed the title to become the first two-time winner on the NPT this season.
Copeland shot a 167 to beat Laceys winning pro score by six shots. Josh Garrison finished eight strokes back at 175. 2006 NPT Medal Play Champion Anthony Russell and Saturdays tourney winner Anthony Amick tied for third at 177.
Copeland, last years NPT Match Play Champion, fired an impressive 79 to lead by seven strokes over three players. After the lunch break, Copeland added a 27 in the fourth round to increase his lead to 11 strokes.
A fifth-round 31 opened the door for Russell and Garrison, who had hot rounds to close the gap. Russell was at 144, six strokes behind Copeland, and Garrison stood at 145. However, Copeland ended with a solid 29 to hold them off.
Scores and tournament recap provided by James Weber and Peter Neumann.
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