Tony Varnadore Dominates Field in Martinsville to Earn First Career Virginia Tour Win

10 May 2008 - Martinsville, VA - The Virginia PPA Tour returned to the picturesque Laurel Park Mini Golf facility in Martinsville, VA for the first time since 2005 to contest the first of two 54-hole weekend events on course # 2.  Sunny skies and warm spring temperatures baked the course's carpets, which led to erratic field scoring.  The challenging conditions were no match for 2003 PPA National Doubles Champion Tony Varnadore, however, as he posted brilliant rounds of 26, 24, and 23 for a 54-hole total of 73 to notch a wire-to-wire five-stroke victory, his first career win on the VA Tour and his first PPA title since capturing the 2003 SC State Championship.  Runner-up honors went to 1987 Elton Davis Memorial Champion Steve Shively at 78.  2006 PPA National Champion Brad Lebo recovered from a horrific start to the tournament to charge into third place at 79.  PPA rookie sensation Dennis Biesma finished in fourth position at 81.  At 83, 2007 VA Putting Classic Champion Tom O'Brien completed the event in fifth place.

Tony Varnadore

Action began with some lackluster field scoring as the players adapted to the course's rapidly-fluffing carpet fibers.  Varnadore and Martinsville local putting icon Randal Smith surged to the top of the first-round leader board at 26.  Lurking in a three-way third-place tie at 27 were two-time PPA Seniors National Champion Bill Baus, two-time PPA National Doubles Champion Rick Rybaczek, and 2003 VA State Champion Gilbert Sharpe.
Varnadore continued his stellar play in the second round, carding a 24 to take the 36-hole lead at 50.  Shively also posted a middle-round 24 to move into second place at 53.  Lebo fired a second-round 23, tying the low round of the tournament, to leapfrog into a third-place tie with Biesma at 54.  Bunched in a fifth-place tie at 55 were O'Brien, Baus, and Smith.
Although he had not won a PPA event in over four years, Varnadore handled the final-round pressure with a sloth-like calmness.  Varnadore recorded a sizzling final-round 23, tying the event's low round, en route to a five-stroke victory at 73.  With a final-round 25, Shively finished in second place at 78.  Lebo also fired a third-round 25 and completed the event in third position at 79.  At 81, Biesma finished in fourth place.  Rounding out the tournament's top five finishers in fifth position at 83 was O'Brien.

Keith Waters

In the amateur division, 1993 NC APA State Champion Keith Waters broke out of a tightly-bunched amateur pack with a spectacular final-round 24 to post a one-stroke victory with a 54-hole score of 81.  Two-time VA Open APA Champion Amy Smith settled for second place at 82.  A third-place logjam at 86 included 1999 VA APA State Champion Malcolm Shumaker, James LeBrun, and David Myers.
Play commenced in the amateur division with 2007 Carolinas' Open APA Champion Ben Blake climbing into the 18-hole lead at 28.  A five-way tie for second place at 29 included Waters, Smith, Shumaker, Mark Lawson, and amateur veteran Chuck Nance.
2007 VA State APA Champion Conway Coffey brewed up a second-round 26 to jump into a tie for the 36-hole lead with Smith at 56.  Waters hovered just a stroke behind the leaders, in third place at 57.  Bunched in a fourth-place tie at 59 were Shumaker, LeBrun, Lawson, and Nance.
Scoring among the leaders improved in the event's final round.  Waters posted a third-round 24, the low round of the tournament in the amateur division, for a 54-hole total of 81 to record his first victory of the 2008 season.  Smith carded a final-round 26 to finish in second place at 82.  Myers fired an impressive final-round 25 to soar into a third-place tie at 86 with Shumaker and LeBrun.
The Virginia PPA Tour will return to action with another 54-hole event on course # 2 at the Laurel Park Mini Golf facility in Martinsville, VA beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, May 11, 2008.

Article provided by Brad Lebo

Professional Division
(Martinsville, VA - Course # 2 - 10 May 2008)

RoundVirginia Prize 
Player123TotalPoints Money 
1Varnadore, Tony2624237325.00 $ 175.00
2Shively, Steve2924257824.00 $ 125.00
3Lebo, Brad3123257923.00 $ 105.00
4Biesma, Dennis2826278122.00 $   90.00
5O'Brien, Tom2827288321.00 $   80.00
6Newport, Greg3029258419.00 $   62.00
Baus, Bill2728298419.00 $   62.00
Smith, Randal2629298419.00 $   62.00
9Freeman, Daryl3227268515.50 $   25.00
Summey, Matt3127278515.50 $   25.00
Rybaczek, Rick2730288515.50 $   25.00
Sharpe, Gilbert2729298515.50 $   25.00
13Drexler, Jonathan2929298713.00
14Baird, Rick3027318811.50
Rawles, Thomas3130278811.50
16Haizlip, Bob3030319110.00
17Cardwell, Michael313532989.00
18Peters, Frankie3632341028.00

 Amateur Division
(Martinsville, VA - Course # 2 - 10 May 2008)

RoundVirginia Expense 
Player123TotalPoints Money 
1Waters, Keith2928248120.00 $   30.00
2Smith, Amy2927268218.00 $   25.00
3Shumaker, Malcolm2930278616.00 $   15.00
Lebrun, James3128278616.00 $   15.00
Myers, David3031258616.00 $   15.00
6Coffey, Conway3026328814.00
7Lawson, Mark2930319012.00
Blake, Ben2833299012.00
Nance, Chuck2930319012.00
10Jones, Grover3132299210.00
11Smith, Mark313131939.00
12Gregor, David303431958.00
13Craft, Clayton323133967.00
14Baldwin, Randy323333985.50
Cyr, Chuck343133985.50



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