27 February 2010 - Webster, TX - As players gather for an earlier than normal start to 2010 it marked the 1st time in many years the players braved the elements in February and it turned out to be a golden nugget for PPA professional Joel Baker
. Joel Baker, PPA professional from Arlington, Texas had not played in February since the 70’s but may vote for the WPT to continue this early trend for 2011 and beyond. The field of 31 players on Saturday braved the windy conditions that kept blowing the ball out in left field. Joel Baker put on a clinic; turning an unassisted triple play. Joel went wire to wire for a two shot victory in the 3 round event in the PPA division. There was a log jam of three professionals two shots back; Lee Messinger
, Jeffrey Smith
both of Dallas, Texas and Byron Kirby
of Sulphur, Louisiana. This marked Joel’s second win in a row February but the last came in 1977 as an Amateur as he ponders playing next February so he can defend his new title of “Mr. February”. Jeffrey Smith won the 18 hole playoff to join Joel as a spot winner for the year end Championship in Lake Charles this October. Jeffrey scorched the course the 4th trip around with a fine score of 24. This victory was Joel’s 20th of his career dating back to 1988. Joel now is tied with Steve Wood
for 9th place on the all time win list for the WPT. Spots for the year end Championship weekend went to Baker and Smith on the senior circuit.
Event two was minus the morning winner Joel Baker; the 1st event runner-up Jeffrey Smith continued his fine play with Match Play victories over Wade Sahmel
2 up with one to play and Byron Kirby 1 up and in the finals he bested David Chisum
4 up with 3 left. This marked Jeffrey’s 45th win on the WPT and moves only 4 wins behind Rainey Statum
for the All-time win leader. Jeffrey won the lone spot in the PPA division for the nightcap.
The minor league circuit saw Tony Newcomb
of Moss Bluff, Louisiana successfully defend his title in the 1st APA event of the season with rounds of 28-32-27 for an 87. Tony was 2 shots ahead of amateur Mike Huckaby
from Arlington, Texas. ,Third place went to Mr. Consistent, Mickey DeLucca
from Baton Rouge as he shot 3 30’s to finish 1 back of Mike Huckaby. There was 11 APA members within 11 shots of the winner as 2010 looks to be a dogfight. There are a few APA prospects that may get the call to the majors next year. Tony and Mike took the 1st two spots awarded in 2010 for the year end weekend in Lake Charles, October 9th.
The nightcap for the minor leaguers saw a familiar winner from years past as local Dwain Willett
came out of retirement to show the field how to play some Putt-Putt. Dwain had victories over Danny Tatum
2 up with 1 to play and the same margin of victory over Adam Sahmel
and then took 18 holes to defeat Ken Stanfill
1 up and then had beat Mike Huckaby 2 up in the finals. This was Dwain’s 17th victory on the WPT for his career going back to 1986 and he also secured a spot for Championship weekend.