16 September 2009 - Orlando, FL - On the eve of the 50th PPA National Championship tournament, the PPA National Tour contested the PPA 50th Anniversary Reunion Tournament. All rounds of the 54-hole event were played on the Fountain course at the Orange Lake and Country Club's Putt-Putt Golf facility in Orlando, FL. The tournament provided a special opportunity for some former PPA Tour players to compete and display their putting skills once again as part of the festivities of the 50th PPA National Championship week.
Fittingly, the sport's all-time money and wins leader, PPA Hall of Fame member Greg Ward
of Loganville, GA, carded stellar rounds of 26, 22, and 23 for a 54-hole total of 71 to earn a two-shot win, the $280.00 first prize, and his second title of the 2009 PPA National Championship week. Despite his unmatched career resume, Ward took great pride in his latest triumph. "Winning the 2009 PPA Reunion Tournament was a big deal for me," commented the 48-year-old construction material sales Vice President. Ward added, "It was great to get to spend some time with some of the great players that have played our sport in the past. I played as well as I can play today."
Ward's impressive victory did not come without challenge, however. In the event's first round, 2005 PPA ProPutters.com Classic Champion Tim Greenert
established a new Fountain course record with an opening-round 20. His playing partner, 2006 PPA National Champion Brad Lebo
, followed in close pursuit at 22. After two rounds of play, two-time Great Lakes Tour Champion Paul Johns
recorded his second consecutive round of 23 to seize the 36-hole lead at 46, one stroke ahead of Greenert and two strokes ahead of Ward, Lebo, and teen putting prodigy and international putting star Olivia Prokopova
of the Czech Republic.
Ward took command in the final round, crafting a brilliant final-round 23 to secure the victory with a 54-hole score of 71. Greenert shot a third-round 26 to notch runner-up honors at 73. Despite a par-bogey conclusion to the tournament, Prokopova posted a final-round 25 to complete the event alone in third place at 75. At 76, Lebo finished in fourth position. PPA Hall of Fame legend Daryl Freeman
, 2007 PPA Northern Open Champion Rick Culverhouse
, and Johns tied for fifth place at 78. The final of the 21 money spots awarded in the tournament fell at a 54-hole total of 85.
In the amateur division, a tightly-contested dogfight ensued. Three-time VA APA State Champion Conway Coffey
of Lynchburg, VA notched his long-overdue first career National Tour amateur division win. Mired in a fifth-place tie after 36 holes after opening rounds of 29 and 27, Coffey percolated a timely final-round 25 to pole-vault to the top of the final amateur leaderboard at 81, enough for a one-stroke victory. Newly-crowned APA National Doubles Champion Art Koerber
made a major move of his own in the third round, shooting a tournament-low 23 to leap into a second-place tie with 2007 NC APA State Champion Chris Alley
at 82. Second-round leader David Myers
suffered a closing-round 30 but still managed to record a fourth-place finish at 83. At 86, PPA Western Tour director Danny Tatum
and Steven Ventura shared fifth position. The cutoff line for the seven amateur division expense reimbursement spots allocated in the event came at a score of 87.
The 2009 PPA National Championship continues with the contesting of the PPA National Championship and APA National Championship tournaments on the Magnolia and Fountain courses of the Orange Lake Resort and Country Club's Putt-Putt Golf facility in Orlando, FL. The three-day, 216-hole PPA National Championship will tee off at 9:00 a.m. each day on Thursday-Saturday, September 17-19, 2009. Action in the two-day, 144-hole APA National Championship will commence at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, September 17 and Friday, September 18.