Robert Johnson Outlasts Competition and Weather for Win
31 July 2010 - Gastonia, NC - A field of 21 pros and 16 amateurs took to the carpets Saturday morning at the beautifully landscaped Adventure Landing facility in Gastonia, NC for the first of two weekend events. Light winds and significant cloud cover greeted the players at the challenging course, which made for optimal scoring conditions during the early part of the afternoon.
Players immediately attacked the defenseless course. 2009 Dogwood Open Champion Dennis Biesma and 2008 Georgia State Champion Jeff Carr both carded first round scores of 24, leading the pace. One stroke behind at 25 were 2003 PPA National Champion Robert Johnson, 2008 North Carolina State Champion Ricky Schults and 2007 Elton Davis Memorial Champion Tony Jackson. Following closely at 26 were 2007 PPA Senior National Champion Frank Warren and 1997 PPA National Champion Randy Reeves.
The favorable weather conditions changed during the second round, with a heavy shower forcing the first of two rain delays on the day. Predictably scores were higher for most participants. The trio of Johnson, Carr and 2010 Virginia Open Champion Rick Rybaczek led the event after two rounds at 52. Not surprisingly, Rybaczek carded the best second round score of 25 during the deteriorating conditions. Warren lurked one stroke back at 53. Biesma, Schults, 1998 PPA National Champion Bill Kirby and 2009 Southern Putting Tour Champion Allen Wall all remained close at 54.
Heavy rain during the third round and another rain delay of close to one hour took their toll on final round scores. Johnson managed to secure the win with a final round 33 to finish at 85. Schults, Rybaczek and Warren tied for runner up honors one stroke back at 86. One stroke further back at 87 were 2009 PPA National Champion Tony Varnadore, 2007 PPA National Champion Rick Baird and 2006 Georgia State Champion Michael Hitt. The money line in the pro division fell at 89 for the event. An interesting note the average score in the pro division on the rain-saturated course for the final round was a whopping 34.28.
In the amateur division Johnny Brown, winner of a 2009 event in Gastonia, held the first round lead at 25. 2003 APA National Invitational Champion Brian Hutchins, playing in his first event of the season, followed close behind at 26. 2007 North Carolina State APA Champion Chris Alley held third place position at 27.
Second round scores also rose in the amateur division, but the same trio were in the top three positions with one round to play. Brown led the pace at 55, with Alley one stroke back at 56 and Hutchins close behind at 57.
The deteriorating weather played havoc in the amateur division as well. 2010 APA Eastern Open, Northern Open and Southern Open Champion Randal Smith took advantage of tough conditions and passed many players to garner a one stroke win with a final round 30, finishing at 89. Brown settled with runner up honors one stroke back at 90. Alley and 1993 North Carolina State APA Champion Keith Waters tied for third place at 91.
The Southern Putting Tour wishes to thank Adventure Landing Manager Steve Brewer and his entire staff for their help in clearing the course during the rainy afternoon and making the course playable in less than optimal conditions. Players will return to the course on Sunday morning to contest the 2010 SPT Match Play Championship.
Article provided by the Southern Putting Tour