14 March 2009 - Burlington, NC - A dedicated and adventuresome field of 23 professional and 15 amateur players gathered in a bitterly cold, driving rainstorm to contest the first PPA Southern Putting Tour event of the 2009 season on course # 1 at the beautiful Burlington, NC Putt-Putt Fun Center. The challenging conditions proved no match for 2003 PPA National Champion Robert Johnson
. The wily veteran from Lake Wylie, SC courageously rebounded from a disappointing first-round 33 with a spectacular second round of 25 and a solid third round of 28 for a 54-hole total of 86 and a hard-fought one-stroke victory. 2006 PPA National Champion Brad Lebo
orchestrated a spirited final-round charge and had a chance to force a playoff with Johnson with an ace on the event's final hole. Lebo failed to convert that ace, however, and at 87 settled for sharing runner-up honors with second-round leader Tony Jackson
. A four-way, fourth-place logjam at 89 included defending champion Rick Baird
, two-time PPA ProPutters.com Classic Champion Greg Newport
, 2006 PPA Senior National Champion Steve Toomey
, and 1997 PPA National Champion Randy Reeves
. The cash line for the eleven money spots awarded in the tournament fell at 90.
In the amateur division, 2006 PPA Women's National Champion Vanette Block
seized a one-stroke lead over a trio of amateur contestants after 36 holes before splashing her way to an unfathomable tournament-low, third-round 23. Block posted rounds of 31, 29, and 23 for a 54-hole total of 83 and an emphatic five-stroke win. Wilson, NC putting icon Johnny Brown
fired 88 to finish in second place. At 93, 2008 North Carolina APA State Champion Todd Trent
completed the event in third position. Bunched in a fourth-place tie at 95 were Art Koerber, 2007 North Carolina APA State Champion Chris Alley
, and 1993 North Carolina APA State Champion Keith Waters
. Four players split the final amateur division expense reimbursement spot at 96.
The PPA Southern Putting Tour will resume action with the contesting of the 54-hole Howard Loy Memorial Tournament on course # 1 in Burlington, NC beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, March 15, 2009.