April 2010 - White Lake, NC - After a beautiful sunny day which featured two 54-hole events and two evening barbeques, players awoke to a slight drizzle, cloudy skies and swirling winds to contest the 26th Annual Carolinas' Open at the White Lake, NC Putt Putt Golf Course at Goldston's Beach. Overnight rains soaked carpets and players scrambled in morning practice to adjust shots and combat what would become significant winds as the day progressed. Drenched carpets at dawn slowly drained throughout the day, but there was still substantial moisture on carpets and rails throughout the entire event. Scores on Sunday were predictably higher than during the almost perfect conditions players enjoyed on Saturday.
In the professional division defending Carolinas' Open Champion and 1997 PPA National Champion Randy Reeves
opened up with a 12 under par 24 to grab a share of the lead with 2007 PPA Tournament Players Champion Vince Batten
. Six players were log jammed one stroke behind the leaders at 25, with two more again one stroke behind at 26. Batten's pace slowed greatly in round 2, as he finished at 5 under par 31. Reeves continued his stellar play and had a second round of 11 under par 25, remaining in the lead at 49. 2008 PPA North Carolina State Champion Ricky Schults
followed up his first round score of 25 with a round of 10 under par 26, putting him two strokes behind Reeves at 51. A pair of PPA Hall of Fame members followed closely behind. 1995 PPA National Champion and PPA Lifetime Achievement Award honoree Bill Kirby, Jr
. and 1973 PPA National Champion Daryl Freemen
were tied for third place after two rounds at 52. In round three Reeves continued to set the pace. He carded a steady round of 10 under par 26, putting him at 75 after three rounds. Schults also remained in contention after a round of 27, putting him in second place at 78. 2003 PPA National Champion Robert Johnson
used steady rounds of 27, 26 and 26 to move into third place alone at 79. The final round saw scoring both low and high among the leaders. Reeves pace slowed considerably as he was only able to finish the day with a round of 6 under par 30, which ended his hopes of a title defense. He settled for fourth place at 105. Johnson used a stellar finish of 14 under par 22 to jump ahead of everyone ahead of him and grab the one stroke victory, his first Carolinas' Open title. Similarly, a final round 15 under par 21 was enough to secure solo second place honors for 2005 PPA National Champion and 2010 PPA Hall of Fame Inductee Jay Klapper
. On the strength of a final round 12 under par 24 Kirby secured third place with a four round score of 104. The cash line for the field of 25 professionals fell at 110.
In the amateur division four players came out of the gate tied after the first round. Former Eden, NC Putt Putt course owner Randal Smith
, 2009 APA National Doubles Champion David Myers
, Archdale, NC product Randy Simpson
and Wilson, NC product Andrew Radford
all carded 9 under par scores of 27. Three time winner of 2009 Southern Putting Tour APA events Johnny Brown
and 2008 Southern Putting Tour APA Most Improved Award winner Linwood Moist
were one stroke back at 28. On the strength of a second round score of 11 under par 25 Brown moved ahead of the competition and into first place alone at 53. 2009 APA Georgia State Champion Todd Trent
also moved up the leader board with a 25 in round two, putting him two strokes off the lead at 55. Smith, Myers and Simpson all had rounds of 7 under par 29 in round two and were tied for third place at 56. Scoring heated up in round three. Smith came in at 13 under par 23, which put him in the lead at 79. Brown continued his workman-like day and carded a solid round of 9 under par 27, putting him one stroke behind Smith at 80. 2008 APA Southern Putting Tour Champion Ben Blake
turned in the best amateur round of the day in round three, a 14 under par 22, which put him alone in third place at 82. Final round scores were steady among the leaders. Smith finished with a round of 8 under par 28, enough to secure a one stroke victory and his first Carolinas' Open title. Brown also finished the event with a final round 8 under par 28 and shared runner-up honors with Blake who finished with a 10 under par 26. Brown and Blake finished at 108. With a stellar final two round total of 48, Webmaster Billy Caudle
finished in fourth place alone at 110.
The Southern Putting Tour wishes to thank Jill and John Womble and the entire staff at Goldston's Beach for their hospitality and the gracious welcome the players always enjoy. The next Tour event is scheduled for Thursday evening, May 13, 2010 in Burlington, NC, a 54 hole event as a prelude to the 2010 PPA Southern Open, also scheduled in Burlington on May 15-16, 2010.