Thomas Rawles Fires 77 to Return to Winner's Circle in Roanoke, VA
22 May 2010 - Roanoke, VA - The Virginia PPA Tour gathered to contest to the second of three weekend tournaments on course # 2 at the Roanoke, VA Putt-Putt Fun Center. For about an hour prior to the tee off time of the event, very heavy rain showers completely saturated the course's new, thick backwards carpet fibers and dampened the rails used for the course's many bank shots. Quite surprisingly, field scoring actually significantly improved over that of the day's earlier tournament despite the adverse and rapidly-changing course conditions.
Tour veteran Thomas Rawles proved to be the most adept in the 28-player professional field at the afternoon guessing game, as he carded solid, steady rounds of 25, 26, and 26 for a 54-hole total of 77 to capture his first victory since September 2003, which fittingly also came on course # 2 in Roanoke, VA. Rejuvenated PPA Hall of Fame member Bill Kirby continued his recent strong play, posting a brilliant tournament-low second-round 22 and ultimately tying for second place at 78 with reigning PPA National Champion Tony Varnadore. At 79, second-round leader Robert Johnson completed the event in fourth position. A five-way, fifth-place tie at 80 included defending champion Bill Baus, PPA Hall of Fame legend Daryl Freeman, 2007 PPA National Champion Rick Baird, July 2008 Richmond, VA Local Player of the Month Vince Batten, and naturally-gifted 1997 PPA National Champion Randy Reeves. The last of the fourteen money spots allocated in the tournament fell at a 54-hole score of 83.
In the amateur division, reigning PPA Southern Open APA Champion Randal Smith stormed back with fury from a disappointing morning tournament performance. After opening the event with a lackluster round of 30, Smith manufactured an inspired clubhouse charge, firing final rounds of 25 and 24 to catch second-round leader Joey Graybeal and force an 18-hole playoff after the duo completed the tournament deadlocked at a 54-hole total of 79. Despite having joined the PPA's amateur ranks only eight days earlier, Graybeal already may have found his Lex Luthor in the amateur field. Less than one week earlier, Smith had wrestled a late lead from the pure-stroking Graybeal en route to the PPA Southern Open APA title. In this week's showdown, Smith and Graybeal completed the 18-hole playoff all square after each shot 30. The two gladiators matched respective deuces and aces on the first and second holes of sudden death. On the dangerous and fickle third hole, Smith struck a perfect tee shot which resulted in a hole-in-one. When Graybeal's ace effort slid by the hole, Smith notched his fifth amateur victory of the 2010 season. Reigning VA APA State Champion Conway Coffey shared third place with 2008 Southern Putting Tour APA Champion Ben Blake at 83. At 84, 2004 JPA National Champion John Petrie rounded out the amateur division's top five. The final of the six amateur division expense reimbursement spots awarded in the event came at a 54-hole total of 86.
The Virginia Tour will resume play with the contesting of the tour's second major championship of the 2010 season, the 72-hole Virginia Putting Classic, on course # 2 at the Roanoke, VA Putt-Putt Fun Center. That event will commence at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, May 23, 2010.
Article provided by Brad Lebo