Cliff Matthews Defeats Ken Hastings in Playoff to Win 2011 PPA Tournament Players Championship
14 September 2011 - Memphis, TN - On an overcast morning, the PPA National Tour contested history's sixth edition of the 72-hole PPA Tournament Players Championship on courses # 2 and # 3 at the picturesque Memphis, TN Putt-Putt Fun Center. The field was closed to 66 professional and 36 amateur contestants who had qualified for the event through performance in tournaments held on the 2011 PPA National Tour schedule. When the dust settled in a tightly-fought battle, another of the sport's all-time great champions was added to the litany of winners of the event.
Two-time PPA National Champion Cliff Matthews of Euless, TX opened the tournament with rounds of 23, 27, and 26 and after 54 holes stood mired in a three-way tie for tenth place at 76, three strokes behind third-round co-leaders Ken Hastings and Robert Johnson. In the closing round, however, Matthews successfully drew to a figurative inside straight, as the riverboat gambler conjured up a magical tournament-low round of 21, which was matched by 1993 PPA National Champion Andy Coradini and Chance Marett, to break out of the pack and pole-vault into a tie with Hastings' clubhouse lead of 97. In the ensuing 18-hole playoff, Matthews rode the wave of his final-round momentum to earn a relatively lopsided playoff victory by a tally of 24-29 and capture the $500.00 winner's check. Hastings settled for runner-up honors. Coradini and 2010 Louisiana Open Champion Joe Lea matched fourth-round 24's to complete the event deadlocked in third place at 98. At 99, two-time PPA National Match Play Champion Charlie Greenwalt rounded out the event's top five finishers. The final of the 33 money spots awarded in the tournament fell at a 72-hole score of 108.
In the amateur division, red-hot Dr. Chris Chafin, 49, a counselor and college professor from Burlington, NC, began the tournament seeking his second victory in three days after notching the 2011 APA National Doubles Championship title two days earlier. Chafin accomplished his goal with ease, as he fired steady rounds of 25, 23, 27, and 26 for a 72-hole total of 101 to cruise to an emphatic five-stroke triumph. Chafin's second-round 23 also earned him low-round honors in the amateur division. "I'm elated to have come out on top in the Tournament Players Championship," remarked the reigning Eastern Open APA Champion. "It capped off an incredible first season for me and I feel truly blessed to have re-found this game. Gratitude flows eternally to all of the exceptionally talented players who have so generously helped and supported me this year." By virtue of a final-round 25, 2011 Western Open APA Champion Steve Tanton came out on top in the fight for second place at 106. At 107, Johnny Brown, who won the 2011 APA National Doubles Championship with Chafin earlier in the week, finished third. A three-way, fourth-place tie at 108 included defending champion Randal Smith, 2009 APA National Champion Larry Smith, and Phil Kosobucki. The last of the fifteen amateur division expense reimbursement spots allocated in the event came at a four-round total of 113.
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