Joey Graybeal Earns Dramatic One-Stroke Victory Over Danny Tatum in 2010 APA National Championship

17 September 2010 - Lynchburg, VA - Having never competed in a PPA National Tour event prior to the PPA Southern Open in May 2010, Joey Graybeal of Bristol, TN burst onto the amateur division stage with immediate and formidable impact. The pure-stroking Graybeal recorded a top-three finish in each of his five career PPA National Tour starts leading up to the two-day, eight-round 2010 APA National Championship held on the challenging course # 1 and # 2 layouts at PPA Commissioner Joe Aboid's grand Lynchburg, VA Putt-Putt Fun Center. Despite his stellar season-long play, victory had eluded Graybeal during his short tenure on the National Tour. That changed for Graybeal by virtue of a brilliant final-round 24, during which he wrestled the tournament lead from DeRidder, LA's Danny Tatum with five holes remaining and held on to earn a hard-fought one-stroke victory and the 2010 APA National Championship title. Rounds of 28, 29, 31, 24, 26, 24, 29, and 24 gave the 40-year-old lawn care service proprietor a 144-hole total of 215. Tatum settled for runner-up honors at 216. 2009 APA National Championship runner-up Chris Alley manufactured another serious title run, finishing in third position at 219. After a disappointing first-day performance, prohibitive pre-tournament favorite Randal Smith, winner of six National Tour events in the APA division in 2010, rallied courageously on the final day of action to complete the tournament in fourth place at 223. At 225, veteran John Kropinak rounded out the top five amateur division finishers.

Joey Graybeal

Play commenced on a sunny but quite breezy late summer afternoon, during which the amateur division's course order of play was # 1, 2, 1, and 2. In defiance of the challenging conditions, Tatum leaped into sole possession of the opening-round lead at 24. 2009 Western Open APA Champion Mickey DeLucca lurked a stroke behind at 25. Firing 26, 2003 APA National Champion Bonnie White moved into third place. Using the event's first four rounds as a warm-up for the High Point, NC local tournament later in the evening, two-time Elton Davis Memorial APA Champion Keith Waters shot 27 to assume fourth position. Graybeal hovered alone in fifth place at 28.

With a second-round 27, Tatum maintained a one-stroke advantage over the field at 51. White carded a second consecutive 26 to climb into second place at 52. Posting a second-round 26, 2006 Ray Browning Memorial APA Champion Matt Male jumped into third position at 55. Waters and defending champion Larry Smith shared fourth place at 56.

Violent and swirling gusts swept through the courses during the third round of action. As a result, amateur division scores soared, with only two of the 24 players in the field shooting under 30. Carding 29, White leapfrogged into the 54-hole lead at 81. Tatum shot 31 to drop into second place at 82. Despite a third-round 32, Male remained in third position, six strokes off of the lead at 87. Graybeal and reigning Western Open APA Champion Pat Simpson, who posted the third round's only other sub-30 round with a 29, stood tied for fourth place at 88.

Field scoring improved significantly during the opening day's final round. White crafted a fourth-round 25, widening her lead to two strokes at 106. Tatum shot 26 to enter the final day in second place at 108. Graybeal played his way into the closing day's final pairing, firing 24 to move into a third-place tie at 112 with DeLucca, who posted the opening day's low round of 23. At 114, Male completed the opening day of play in fifth position.

Danny Tatum

Final day action began on a sunny and relatively calm afternoon with a course order of # 2, 1, 2 and 1 being employed for the amateur division's closing four rounds. An immediate shuffling of the leaders occurred, as White struggled to a fifth-round 32. Tatum took full advantage of the opportunity, firing 25 to establish a four-stroke 90-hole lead at 133. Shooting 25, DeLucca held second position at 137. Graybeal carded 26 to match White's third-place score of 138. With 25, Simpson sprung into fifth position at 141.

In the event's sixth round, yet another upheaval occurred atop the tournament's highly-volatile leaderboard. Graybeal produced a sizzling sixth-round 24 to overtake Tatum and set the 108-hole lead at 162. With a lackluster round of 30, Tatum fell into second place at 163. Alley matched Graybeal's 24 to soar into contention, in third position at 167. At 168, White stood in fourth place. Firing 32, DeLucca precipitated into fifth position at 169.

Tatum stormed back with a vengeance from his sixth-round lull by crafting a seventh-round 25 and regaining the lead with a 126-hole score of 188. Meanwhile, Graybeal plummeted to three strokes behind Tatum by virtue of shooting 29. Alley continued his torrid final-day pace, posting a second consecutive 24 to tie Graybeal for second place at 191. With 24, Simpson rose into fourth position at 194. Kropinak fired 24 to surge into the top five for the first time in the tournament at 195. Of note, 1997 PPA High Point Open Champion Rodney Ashley tied DeLucca for the amateur division's low round of the tournament with a penultimate-round 23.

Play began furiously in the event's final round, which quickly developed into a two-player duel between Tatum and Graybeal. Graybeal blazed out of the eighth-round starting gate by acing the first seven holes to pull even with Tatum. The tide turned on the treacherous 8th hole, however, as Graybeal's tee shot caught the right lip, spinning around the cup and stymieing behind the obstacle to the left of the hole. "I thought about trying to make the deuce putt, but decided to take my medicine and lay out for a three," observed Graybeal following the tournament. Graybeal rebounded from the bogey with an ace on the 9th hole to post an outward-nine score of 11. Tatum tenaciously withstood his opponent's early birdie onslaught, carding a solid front-nine score of 13 to enter the final nine holes with a slim one-stroke advantage over Graybeal.

With an unanswered ace on the 10th hole, Graybeal regained a slice of the lead. After the duo matched deuces at the 11th, Tatum aced the 12th hole to move once again a stroke ahead of Graybeal. With honors, Tatum made a calculated decision to lay up on the dangerous 13th hole for a tap-in deuce. Graybeal seized the opportunity, confidently playing for an ace. As his tee shot found the bottom of the cup, he had regained a share of the lead. A hole-in-one on the 14th hole gave Graybeal his first outright lead of the round. Tatum fought valiantly, topping Graybeal's aces on the 15th and 16th holes to remain just one stroke behind Graybeal with two holes remaining in the event.

Graybeal opened the door for Tatum on the perilous 17th hole, as he chose to lay up conservatively off of the back rail for a tap-in deuce. But Tatum followed with a deuce and stepped to the final tee needing to make up a one-stroke deficit to force a playoff. As the players approached the 18th tee, a decision was made to give Tatum the honor. Tatum was unable to convert his ace effort successfully, and Graybeal stood on the 18th tee needing only a par to secure victory. Graybeal later noted, "I knew at that point that all I had to do was make a deuce. I thought to myself, 'How many times have you made a two on this hole? Knock it up there and get your trophy.' " And Graybeal did just that. By deucing the final hole, Graybeal exorcised the demons of his multiple close calls on the 2010 National Tour and captured the most coveted title in the amateur putting ranks. With a final-round 24, a second-day 72-hole total of 103, and a 144-hole total of 215, Graybeal became the 50th APA National Champion. Tatum shot a final-round 28 and settled for runner-up honors at 216.

The affable Graybeal was typically gracious and humble in triumph. "This victory is for Buzz Robinson, who always told me I could do it," said Graybeal. "This victory also is for my family who has always supported me in everything I've ever done. Thanks to my mom, Brocker, Scotty, Brandi, and April, who always played Putt-Putt with me," Graybeal continued. "And the victory is for my friends Daryl and Carolyn Freeman, Travis Robinson, Brad Lebo, Rick Rybaczek, Randy Reeves, Greg Ward, Rick Baird, Renee Halliburton, and many others who have supported me."

Alley easily won the third-place battle, posting an eighth-round 28 to complete the event in third position at 219. Randal Smith, who dominated the APA division of the 2010 National Tour with six victories, mounted an inspired second-day charge with a final-day 72-hole total of 103 to pole-vault into a fourth-place finish at 223. At 225, Kropinak secured fifth position. The last of the ten amateur division expense reimbursement spots allocated in the tournament came at a 144-hole score of 232.

The 2010 APA National Tour schedule concluded with the completion of the APA National Championship tournament.

Article provided by Brad Lebo


Leaders of 2010 APA National Championship by Round

1st Round LeaderDanny Tatum24 (12 under par)
2nd Round LeaderDanny Tatum51 (21 under par)
3rd Round LeaderBonnie White81 (27 under par)
4th Round LeaderBonnie White106 (38 under par)
5th Round LeaderDanny Tatum133 (47 under par)
6th Round LeaderJoey Graybeal162 (54 under par)
7th Round LeaderDanny Tatum188 (64 under par)

Day One Scoreboard from the 2010 APA National Championship
(Course Order: Day 1 = 1-2-1-2, Day 2 = 2-1-2-1)
(Lynchburg, VA - 16-17 September 2010)

Player Name12345678TotalEarnedMoney
1Joey Graybeal2829312426242924215150.00 $  100.00
2Danny Tatum2427312625302528216145.00 $  100.00
3Chris Alley3128302727242428219140.00 $  100.00
4Randal Smith2933332527262426223135.00 $  100.00
5John Kropinak3230312624282430225130.00 $  100.00
6Pat Simpson2930292825292432226125.00 $  100.00
7Larry Smith2927332726283129230117.50 $  100.00
Malcolm Shumaker3132322527252632230117.50 $  100.00
9Bonnie White2626292532303033231110.00 $  100.00
10Matt Male2926322732322826232105.00 $    75.00
11Mickey DeLucca2533312325323530234100.00  
12Keith Waters272933322829273023598.00  
13Tony Newcomb322734292829273023696.00  
14Barb Mingo312732273131273424094.00  
15Rodney Ashley323037263030233524392.00  
16Wade Driskill292934303133283124590.00  
17Bill Petrie313231283033283324688.00  
18Herb Hull332834342631283625086.00  
19James LeBrun353339293327273025384.00  
20Lynn Self333835342730263525882.00  
21Terry Sanner333534342836312926080.00  
22Alan Sahmel342940312831333526178.00  
23Don Niznik353633333233303827075.00  
Adam Smith334034382833333127075.00  



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