Rick Baird Opens 2008 Southern Tour with Victory in Burlington

15 March 2008 - Burlington, NC - Defending 2007 PPA National Champion, Rick Baird, of Pineville, NC fired a 49 over the final two rounds of the opening tournament for the 2008 season, which was good enough for a one-stroke victory over 2007 Southern Putting Tour Co-Player of the Year, Jeff Carr. Baird finished the tournament with a 34-under par 74, while Carr finished at 75. Jay Klapper finished in third place with a 76; while the trio of Matt Summey, Randy Carter, and Brad Lebo fired 79 to finish tied for fourth place.

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Rick Baird

First round action saw James White of Tiffin, OH fire a 13-under 23, including an opening perfect-9 on the front half of the course to grab an early two-stroke lead. Summey, an Arlington, VA resident shared second place with two fellow competitors, Thomasville, NC resident Carter, and Frank Warren of Martinez, GA, after logging 11-under 25s. Baird, Lawrenceville, GA resident, Klapper, Tony Jackson, of Spartanburg, SC and Tony Varnadore, of Rock Hill, SC shared fifth place another stroke back at 26. Nine more players were tied for ninth place at 27, while another seven sat at 28, tied for 18th place.

A thirteen-under par 23 for Baird in the second round catapulted him into the lead, by one stroke, at 49, over Varnadore who fired a 24 to finish the round at 50. 2006 PPA National Champion, Brad Lebo matched Varnadores 12-under to finish the round in a six-way tie for third place with Carr, Michael Hitt, and PPA Hall of Fame member Daryl Freeman, who all managed to post 25s. Also in the logjam at 52 were Klapper and Carter who shot 10-under and nine-under scores respectively. Tony Jackson and first-year pro Dennis Biesma were another stroke back at 53 tied for ninth, while White, who struggled to a second round 31, finished alone at 54, five strokes off the pace, in 11th place.

A third-round 11-under par, 25, for Baird was just enough to maintain a lead over Carr, who made a good charge in the final round, firing a 13-under 23, vaulting him into second place at 75, one stroke behind Baird. Klappers 24 in the last round was good enough to earn him third place honors at 76. Summey was able to match the 12-under posted by Klapper, moving him into a three-way tie with Carter and Lebo for fourth place. Jackson was able to slip into seventh place with a final round 27, finishing at 80. Three players tied for eighth at 81, while another seven players finished at 82, tying for 11th place. Tying for 18th place, and splitting the final cash spot were yet another group of seven players, who all finished at 83.

The win was Baird's 49th of career, and his first ever at Burlington. The Southern Putting Tour returns to action tomorrow, Sunday, March 16 at 10:00 a.m. for the Howard Loy Memorial Tournament.

Article and scores provided by Frank Warren, Dennis Biesma and the PPA Southern Putting Tour.

Professional Division of the Burlington Open
(Burlington, NC - Course # 1
- 15 March 2008)

  Round SouthernPrize
 Player123TotalTour PointsMoney
1Rick Baird*2623257440.00 $ 150.00
2Jeff Carr2725237534.00 $ 110.00
3Jay Klapper2626247633.00 $   90.00
4Matt Summey2530247931.00 $   75.00
 Randy Carter2527277931.00 $   75.00
 Brad Lebo2824277931.00 $   75.00
7Tony Jackson2627278029.00 $   65.00
8Tony Varnadore2624318127.00 $   55.00
 Ricky Schults2829248127.00 $   55.00
 Tom O'Brien2829248127.00 $   55.00
11Rick Rybaczek2926278222.00 $   42.00
 Robert Johnson2827278222.00 $   42.00
 Daryl Freeman2725308222.00 $   42.00
 Frank Warren2532258222.00 $   42.00
 Vince Batten2926278222.00 $   42.00
 Allen Wall3025278222.00 $   42.00
 Bob Jackson2729268222.00 $   42.00
18Randal Smith2927278315.00 $     6.00
 Steve Shively2729278315.00 $     6.00
 Randy Reeves2929258315.00 $     6.00
 James White2331298315.00 $     6.00
 Michael Hitt2725318315.00 $     6.00
 Rick Culverhouse2926288315.00 $     6.00
 Bill Baus3025288315.00 $     6.00
25Dennis Biesma2726318410.50 
 Ray Guthrie2927288410.50 
27Frankie Peters303025858.00 
 Darrell Britt272830858.00 
 Bob Haizlip273028858.00 
30Greg Newport322628865.50 
 Lance Perdue282929865.50 
32Caleb Kennedy282831875.00 
 Stan Seethoff283128875.00 
 Matt McCaslin273129875.00 
35Lewis Burton293230915.00 
36Steve Toomey333131955.00 
37Michael Cardwell3737291035.00 

* Earned a qualification spot for the 2008 PPA Southern Putting Tour Championship.

Bonnie White Uses Final Round 27 to Post
One Stroke Victory in Amateur Field

15 March 2008 - Burlington, NC - The amateur division on the Southern Putting Tour was expected to be wide-open in 2008, after the move of three of the top players to the pro ranks this year. Bonnie White, of Tiffin, OH had other ideas, as she carded a 26-under par 82 to win the first event of the season by one stroke over Mark Lawson, of Asheboro, NC and Charlotte, NC resident, Billy Caudle.

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Bonnie White

White and Caudle jumped out to the first round lead, firing 10-under par 26s. Terry Whitaker was alone in third place, one stroke back at 27, while the duo of Todd Trent and Ben Blake were tied for fourth place at 28, another stroke back. Lawson, and 2006 PPA Ladies National Champion, Vanette Block were the only other amateurs to break 30 for the round, finishing with seven-under par 29s, and in a tie for sixth place.

Second round action saw the players scores close, rather than spread out. Block and Lawson both fired their own 10-under par 26s, catching both White and Caudle, who were only able to muster 29s in the middle stanza, at 55. Trent remained steady with a second round 29, coming in two strokes off the four leaders pace, at 57.

The final round had a lot of excitement, as White caught and passed both Lawson and Caudle over the final four holes of the tournament. A closing nine-under par, 27 saw White edge out Lawson and Caudle by one stroke. White ended with a final score of 82, while Lawson and Caudle had to settle for a second-place tie, one stroke back at 83. Block had to settle for a fourth place finish at 85, after a disappointing closing round 30. Trent finished at 86, in fifth place, while Chris Alley, of Spartanburg, SC fired a final round 26, to jump ahead of the other players into sixth place, and also earned the final expense reimbursement spot.

The Southern Putting Tour returns to action tomorrow, Sunday, March 16 at 10:00 a.m. for the Howard Loy Memorial Tournament.

Article and scores provided by Frank Warren, Dennis Biesma and the PPA Southern Putting Tour.

Amateur Division of the Burlington Open
(Burlington, NC - Course # 1
- 15 March 2008)

  Round SouthernExpense
 Player123TotalTour PointsMoney
1Bonnie White2629278223.00 $   10.00
2Mark Lawson2926288318.50 $   10.00
 Billy Caudle2629288318.50 $   10.00
4Vanette Block2926308517.00 $   10.00
5Todd Trent2829298616.00 $   10.00
6Chris Alley3229268715.00 $   10.00
7David Gregor3028308814.00 
8Rodney Ashley3128319013.00 
9Ben Blake2832319112.00 
10Adam Smith3429309311.00 
11Terry Whitaker2736329510.00 
12Chuck Nance352833968.00 
 Grover Jones303234968.00 
 Art Koerber323331968.00 
15David Myers373327975.33 
 Donald Ralph343528975.33 
 Linwood Moist333133975.33 
18Randy Simpson3738341095.00 



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