Ken Hastings Claws His Way to Victory in PPA Senior National Championship
14 September 2011 - Memphis, TN - The 72-hole PPA Senior National Championship, a tournament limited to players 50 years of age and older, was held under overcast skies on courses # 2 and # 3 at the Memphis, TN Putt-Putt Fun Center. As it has in recent seasons, the event ran concurrently with the four rounds of the PPA Tournament Players Championship, with contestants competing in both tournaments counting the same four rounds of play towards their score in each of the two tournaments. A significant influx of recently AARP-eligible rookies inundated this year's field, but it was a grizzled veteran of senior division play who ultimately emerged victorious.
Following steady opening rounds of 25 and 26, 2001 PPA National Match Play finalist Ken Hastings, a certified public accountant from Pittsburgh, PA, manufactured a brilliant third-round 22, tying 2003 PPA National Champion Robert Johnson for low round of the tournament, to leap into a tie for the 54-hole lead with Johnson at 73. A solid final-round 24 sufficed to earn Hastings a two-stroke triumph, the $200.00 winner's check, and the first PPA National Tour title of his career with an impressive 72-hole total of 97. Two-time PPA National Match Play Champion Charlie Greenwalt used a closing-round 24 to maneuver into second place at 99. At 100, Johnson finished third. A three-way, fourth-place tie at 101 included 2007 PPA Northern Open Champion Rick Culverhouse, PPA Hall of Fame statesman Bill Kirby, and 2003 PPA National Invitational Champion Rod Miller. The last of the twenty cash spots distributed in the tournament fell at a 72-hole score of 107.
In the amateur division, Steve Tanton of Waco, TX once again demonstrated his considerable prowess on the Memphis, TN courses, just as he had done earlier in the season en route to capturing the Western Open APA title in Memphis. The 50-year-old administrator at Texas State Technical College fired initial rounds of 25, 30, and 26 and after three rounds stood in a four-way, third-place logjam at 81, one stroke behind 54-hole co-leaders Johnny Brown and defending champion Randal Smith. With a timely final-round 25, however, Tanton seized a hard-fought one-stroke victory with a 72-hole score of 106. "The 2011 Western Open was my first major national amateur division title after a great many close calls and that win allowed me to return to Memphis relaxed and confident," noted Tanton following the tournament. "Patience and consistency were the keys to the win." Brown continued his stellar week of play with a runner-up finish at 107. Randal Smith and 2009 APA National Champion Larry Smith tied for third place at 108. At 111, 2003 APA National Champion Bonnie White rounded out the event's top five finishers. Amateur division low round honors went to Brown and Alan Sahmel at 24. The cutoff for the ten amateur division expense reimbursement spots awarded in the event came at a four-round total of 114.
Action in the 2011 PPA National Championship week will continue with the contesting of the season's marquee events, the two-day, 144-hole PPA and APA National Championship tournaments on courses # 2 and # 3 at the Memphis, TN Putt-Putt Fun Center. First-day action will tee off at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, September 15, 2011, with final-day action scheduled to begin at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, September 16.
Article provided by Brad Lebo