13 September 2010 - Lynchburg, VA - On a sunny and pleasant late summer day, the 2010 PPA National Championship week kicked off with the contesting of the PPA National Doubles Championship on courses # 1 and # 2 at the beautiful Lynchburg, VA Putt-Putt Fun Center. A field of 26 two-player teams of PPA professionals gathered to vie for the first title to be awarded during the long championship week. The unique 72-hole format included, in order, rounds of alternate hole, better ball, better ball, and alternate hole competition. 2005 PPA National Doubles Champions Kevin Lacey
of Cincinnati, OH and Greg Ward
of Loganville, GA stormed the clubhouse in the final round of regulation to tie third-round leaders Brice Bergesen
and Joe Lea
and force an 18-hole playoff. The two squads remained deadlocked at the end of the 18-hole playoff, with Lacey and Ward acing the second hole of sudden death to earn a hard-fought victory and their second-career PPA National Doubles Championship title. "Kevin was outstanding throughout the event," beamed Ward, a 49-yr-old Vice-President of Sales. "He aced 13 of his 18 tee shots in the two alternate hole rounds of the tournament."
Kevin Lacey (left) and Greg Ward (right)
2010 PPA National Doubles Champions
Action commenced with Bergesen and Lea leaping to the top of the opening round leaderboard with a sizzling alternate hole round of 23. Lurking just two strokes behind the Texas tandem were Lacey and Ward and the sibling duo of Danny
and Matt McCaslin
Bergesen and Lea continued their torrid pace during the second round, as they posted a better ball score of 21 to establish the 36-hole lead at 44. The teams of Lacey and Ward and Danny and Matt McCaslin stayed in contention, tied for second place at 47. 2006 PPA National Doubles Champions Jay Klapper
and Randy Orr
moved up the leaderboard during the second round with a tournament-low round of 19, placing them in a tie for fourth position at 49.
With a penultimate-round 22 in the better ball format, Bergesen and Lea continued to enjoy a comfortable lead after three rounds with a 54-hole total of 66. The McCaslin team continued its signature sweet ball striking in the third round of play to seize sole possession of second place at 69 and remain three strokes behind the leaders. Two-time PPA National Doubles Champions Greg Newport
and Rick Rybaczek
posted 21 to jump into a third-place tie at 70 with Lacey and Ward.
The well of aces went dry for Bergesen and Lea in the final round, as they shot 29 in the alternate hole format to establish the 72-hole clubhouse lead at 95. Lacey and Ward fired a solid final-round 25 to match Bergesen and Lea at 95 and force an 18-hole playoff. Wily veterans Robert Johnson
and Bill Kirby, Jr
. orchestrated an inspired final-round run, posting a fourth-round 23 to secure a third-place finish at 96. Charlie Greenwalt
and reigning PPA National Champion Tony Varnadore
needed a final-hole ace to join the playoff, but instead carded an untimely bogey and settled for fourth at 97. A three-way, fifth-place tie at 98 included the teams of Newport and Rybaczek, the pair of McCaslins, and Klapper and Orr. The final of the thirteen money spots awarded in the event fell at a 72-hole total of 102.
In the ensuing 18-hole alternate hole format playoff on course # 2, Bergesen and Lea bogeyed the challenging third hole to fall two strokes behind Lacey and Ward early in the round. After the outward nine, Lacey and Ward took a two-stroke lead, 13-15. Lacey and Ward extended their lead to three strokes after an ace on the 14th hole. Bergesen and Lea fought valiantly, however, recording three consecutive unanswered aces on holes 15-17 to square the match. Both squads deuced the final hole of regulation to complete the playoff deadlocked at 27. Sudden death would determine a victor. After the teams both aced the first hole of sudden death, Lacey and Ward aced the fickle second hole to claim the title in dramatic fashion and secure the $370.00 winners' check.
Bill Petrie (left) and Malcolm Shumaker (right)
2010 APA National Doubles Champions
In the amateur division, the tournament developed into a see-saw battle primarily involving local area players. 2009 Dogwood Open APA Champion Bill Petrie
of Lynchburg, VA and 2004 APA National Doubles Champion Malcolm Shumaker
of Farmville, VA crafted rounds of 29, 20, 23, and 28 for a 72-hole total of 100 to notch a three-stroke triumph. The win gave Petrie the first major national amateur division title of his career and Shumaker his second. The duo also earned low-round honors in the amateur division with their second-round better ball score of 20 on course # 1. Lynchburg, VA local stalwarts and first-round leaders Randy Baldwin
and Conway Coffey
brewed up a 72-hole score of 103 to earn runner-up honors. A three-way, third-place tie at 106 included the teams of Wade Driskill
and James LeBrun
, Joey Graybeal
and Bonnie White
, and Lynn Self
and Larry Smith
. Those three tandems also garnered the final amateur division expense reimbursement spots allocated in the tournament.
The events of the 2010 PPA National Championship week will continue with the contesting of the 72-hole 2010 PPA ProPutters.Com Classic on courses # 1 and # 2 at the Lynchburg, VA Putt-Putt Fun Center beginning at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, September 14, 2010.