Kevin Lacey Wins 2008 PPA National Championship
20 September 2008 - Richmond, VA - After many heart-breaking close losses in the event, Kevin Lacey finally fulfilled his destiny and captured his first PPA National Championship. The victory was the icing on the cake of a stellar career for Lacey, whose other major PPA National Tour titles include the 1998 PPA Southern Open, the 2000 PPA Match Play Championship, and most recently the 2008 PPA Tournament Players Championship. Lacey brilliantly negotiated courses # 2 and # 3 at the beautiful Richmond, VA Putt-Putt Fun Center with rounds of 21, 26, 23, 26, 26, 24, 25, 20, 21, 22, 26, and 24 for a 148-under par, 216-hole total of 284 to earn the $2000.00 first prize. Lacey prudently laid up the final hole of the tournament for a deuce to narrowly defeat two recent PPA National Champions. 2005 PPA National Champion Jay Klapper charged into the clubhouse with closing rounds of 21 and 23, but fell one stroke short of tying Lacey and settled for runner-up honors at 285. 2006 PPA National Champion Brad Lebo, the tournament leader in rounds 4-9, finished another stroke behind Lacey, completing the event in third place at 286. Firing 21 on course # 3 in each of the final-day rounds on the course, 1993 PPA National Champion Andy Coradini stormed up the final leader board into fourth position at 288. Texan Wade Sahmel played solidly throughout the tournament to notch a fifth-place finish at 290. Rounding out the top ten finishers were perennial contender Rainey Statum in sixth place at 291, 2001 PPA National Champion Greg Ward in seventh at 293, 2004 PPA World Match Play Champion Darrell Anderson and 2008 GA State Champion Jeff Carr in an eighth-place tie at 295, and two-time PPA National Champion Cliff Matthews and 1997 PPA National Champion Randy Reeves in a tenth-place tie at 296.
First day action began with Lacey, Sahmel, Statum, and 1987 Elton Davis Memorial Champion Steve Shively flying out of the gates to assume 18-hole co-leadership at 21. Sahmel posted a second-round 23 to take a one-stroke lead after two rounds at 44 over the trio of Statum, Shively, and 2007 PPA Northern Open Champion Rick Culverhouse. A third-round 22 enabled Klapper to pole-vault into a tie for the 54-hole lead with Sahmel at 69. Carding a fourth-round 23, Lebo finished off a steady day and quietly moved into a tie for the 72-hole lead with Klapper at 93. Sahmel and Matthews lurked two strokes behind the leaders, deadlocked in third place at 95. At 96, Lacey and Statum hovered another stroke off of the lead, tied for fifth position at 96 heading into the second day of play.
Lebo and Klapper opened the second day of play with matching 23's and remained tied for the lead after five rounds at 116. With a fifth-round 22, Matthews drew within a stroke of the co-leaders, standing alone in third place at 117. Two-time PPA National Match Play Champion Charlie Greenwalt set a new course record on course # 2 in the fifth round with a tournament-low round of 19. In the event's sixth round, Statum continued his second-day march up the leader board. Statum backed up his fifth-round 22 with a sixth-round 23 to jump into a tie for the 108-hole lead with Lebo at 141. Klapper and Matthews stayed in close pursuit of the leaders, sharing third position at 142. Firing a solid seventh-round 23, Lebo opened up a bit of breathing room at the top of the scoreboard, taking a three-stroke lead on the field after seven rounds at 164. Statum dropped into second place at 167, with Klapper and Sahmel in a tie for third position at 168. In the eighth round, Lacey made the biggest move, jumpstarting his run to glory with a round of 20. Lebo posted an eighth-round 24 to maintain a three-stroke lead on the field at 188 after the second day of play. With his stellar round, Lacey leapfrogged into a second-place tie with Statum at 191. Coradini recorded a spectacular second-day score of 91 to skyrocket from well back in the pack into a fourth-place tie with Sahmel at 193 after 144 holes.
The third and final day commenced with a torrid scoring pace being set by most of the leaders. Lebo carded a ninth-round 23 to hold on to the tournament lead after nine rounds at 211. By virtue of a magnificent ninth-round 21, Lacey trimmed two strokes off of Lebo's lead and took sole possession of second place at 212. Statum and Sahmel respectively shot 23 and 21 and stood in a tie for third position at 214, with Klapper recording a ninth-round 21 to move into fifth place at 215.
The tenth round proved to be the turning point for Lacey. After Lebo and Lacey each aced the first six holes on course # 3 in the tenth round, disaster struck for Lebo on the 7th hole. Following an ace by Lacey on the 7th hole, Lebo's ace effort lipped out of the hole and into a far corner. He eventually recorded a double-bogey, his only over-par hole of the 12-round event. The isolated mistake would be a costly one, however, as the three-stroke swing caused Lebo to relinquish the lead for the first time since the event's fourth round. Lacey narrowly missed the final hole of the round but still shot 22 to jump to the top of the tenth-round leader board at 234. In the process, Lacey tied the lowest score for three consecutive rounds in PPA history, firing a 54-hole total of 63 in rounds 8-10. Lebo rebounded valiantly from his mid-round nightmare, posting a tenth-round 24. Lebo fell into second place but at 235 stayed within a stroke of Lacey's lead. Sahmel stood alone in third position at 240.
In the eleventh round of play, Lacey and Lebo struggled to some degree and allowed the other contenders to move within striking distance. The well of aces ran dry for Lacey on the mercurial back nine of course # 2 and he posted a mere 26. Despite acing the final four holes of the round, Lebo carded only a pedestrian 27. Klapper took full advantage, crafting a blistering eleventh-round 21. When the dust settled, Lacey held the lead at 260. Klapper pole-vaulted into a second-place tie with Lebo at 262. Sahmel kept his flickering championship hopes alive with an eleventh-round 24, entering the final round in fourth position at 264.
The chase for the title became quite heated as the final round progressed. Lebo aced the first two holes of the round to regain a share of the lead with Lacey, who deuced the round's first three holes. Lacey quickly regrouped, however, to ace the remaining holes on the outward nine and re-establish a two-stroke lead on Lebo at the turn. Meanwhile, playing ahead of Lacey and Lebo in the penultimate pairing, Klapper posted a final-round 23 and set the clubhouse lead at 285. Stepping to the 16th tee one stroke behind Klapper and one stroke ahead of Lebo, Lacey struck perfect ace putts on both holes 16 and 17 and took a one-stroke lead to the 18th hole. Lacey strategically laid up the final hole for a tap-in deuce to capture his first PPA National Championship at 284. Klapper settled for runner-up honors at 285. Lebo carded a final-round 24 to finish in third place at 286. With his second final-day 21 on course # 3, Coradini leaped into fourth place at 288. Sahmel completed the event in fifth place at 290.
The PPA National Tour membership would like to extend thanks and express its appreciation to course manager and host professional Gary Hinshaw, his wife Patsy, and their staff for their hard work in preparing the Richmond, VA Putt-Putt Fun Center courses and facility for the National Championship week and for graciously hosting a week of very successful tournaments. The PPA National Championship tournament concluded the 2008 PPA National Tour schedule.
Article provided by Brad Lebo
Leaders of the 2008 PPA National Championship by Round
|1st Round Leaders||Kevin Lacey, Wade Sahmel, Rainey Statum, and Steve Shively||21 (15 under par)|
|2nd Round Leader||Wade Sahmel||44 (28 under par)|
|3rd Round Leaders||Jay Klapper and Wade Sahmel||69 (39 under par)|
|4th Round Leaders||Brad Lebo and Jay Klapper||93 (51 under par)|
|5th Round Leaders||Brad Lebo and Jay Klapper||116 (64 under par)|
|6th Round Leaders||Brad Lebo and Rainey Statum||141 (75 under par)|
|7th Round Leader||Brad Lebo||164 (88 under par)|
|8th Round Leader||Brad Lebo||188 (100 under par)|
|9th Round Leader||Brad Lebo||211 (113 under par)|
|10th Round Leader||Kevin Lacey||234 (126 under par)|
|11th Round Leader||Kevin Lacey||260 (136 under par)|
Scoreboard from the 2008 PPA National Championship
(Richmond, VA 18-20 September 2008)
|1||Kevin Lacey||21||26||23||26||26||24||25||20||21||22||26||24||284||-148||150.00|| $ 2,000.00 |
|2||Jay Klapper||23||24||22||24||23||26||26||26||21||26||21||23||285||-147||145.00|| $ 1,500.00 |
|3||Brad Lebo||22||24||24||23||23||25||23||24||23||24||27||24||286||-146||140.00|| $ 1,200.00 |
|4||Andy Coradini||23||27||26||26||22||21||25||23||27||21||26||21||288||-144||135.00|| $ 1,000.00 |
|5||Wade Sahmel||21||23||25||26||26||23||24||25||21||26||24||26||290||-142||130.00|| $ 850.00 |
|6||Rainey Statum||21||24||27||24||22||23||26||24||23||27||24||26||291||-141||125.00|| $ 700.00 |
|7||Greg Ward||27||22||26||28||25||21||23||27||23||23||25||23||293||-139||120.00|| $ 650.00 |
|8||Jeff Carr||24||27||25||23||26||24||22||25||25||22||27||25||295||-137||112.50|| $ 612.50 |
|Darrell Anderson||24||30||25||26||23||22||24||24||27||25||25||20||295||-137||112.50|| $ 612.50 |
|10||Cliff Matthews||24||26||23||22||22||25||28||25||25||27||25||24||296||-136||102.50|| $ 562.50 |
|Randy Reeves||23||23||27||25||23||24||26||23||24||27||23||28||296||-136||102.50|| $ 562.50 |
|12||Rick Rybaczek||25||26||28||24||29||24||23||24||27||23||22||22||297||-135||97.00|| $ 512.50 |
|Jeffrey Smith||25||23||28||25||24||25||25||26||23||24||23||26||297||-135||97.00|| $ 512.50 |
|14||Rick Baird||28||23||24||26||29||24||23||27||21||25||23||26||299||-133||92.00|| $ 450.00 |
|Daryl Freeman||26||21||24||28||23||26||26||26||28||26||22||23||299||-133||92.00|| $ 450.00 |
|John Bambling||29||25||24||25||24||24||25||23||26||25||25||24||299||-133||92.00|| $ 450.00 |
|17||Charlie Greenwalt||25||27||27||28||19||26||30||23||23||22||23||27||300||-132||86.00|| $ 375.00 |
|Robert Johnson||24||23||27||29||24||27||23||25||24||26||23||25||300||-132||86.00|| $ 375.00 |
|Nate Nichols||25||26||24||24||25||27||27||23||22||26||28||23||300||-132||86.00|| $ 375.00 |
|20||James Taylor||26||22||25||30||24||26||24||23||26||24||27||24||301||-131||82.00|| $ 330.00 |
|21||Vince Batten||23||25||27||26||27||25||27||24||26||21||27||24||302||-130||80.00|| $ 315.00 |
|22||Joel Baker||27||26||25||24||25||22||28||24||24||25||25||28||303||-129||78.00|| $ 300.00 |
|23||Bill Kirby Jr.||23||24||24||27||26||24||29||27||25||28||26||21||304||-128||75.00|| $ 287.50 |
|Tony Jackson||27||26||29||28||24||27||25||23||23||23||23||26||304||-128||75.00|| $ 287.50 |
|25||Michael Hitt||25||28||24||25||27||27||23||25||29||24||25||24||306||-126||71.00|| $ 140.00 |
|Tony Varnadore||24||25||24||25||28||25||26||26||28||25||25||25||306||-126||71.00|| $ 140.00 |
|60||Steve Shively||21||24||30||22||27||25||31||28|| || || || ||WD||26.00|
|61||Rich Handschuh||27||28||26||28||31||28||33||28|| || || || ||WD||25.00|