Coradini Bests Newport in Season Opener
26 February 2011 - Martinez, GA - Under the backdrop of beautiful weather that belied the calendar, The Southern Putting Tour started the 2011 season on the Red Course at the Martinez, GA Putt-Putt Fun Center with a weekend slate of events. Light showers on Friday morning greeted the many players who chose to take a long weekend and get some early season rust off their games. Changing conditions all day made for some difficult shot choices, and the well-seasoned carpets brought back memories of fast-carpets days of competition.
Players enjoyed almost perfect conditions Saturday, with sunny skies and moderate temperatures greeting the 26 pros and 31 amateurs who competed in the morning event. In the pro division, 2010 PPA National Champion Greg Newport gave early notice his game was in top form as he opened with a round of 15 under par 21. The Red Course is one of his favorites and was the site of his dominating performance to win the 2009 Georgia State Championship. Close behind Newport at 14 under par 22 was 1993 PPA National Champion Andy Coradini. One stroke further back at 23 was 2009 PPA National Champion Tony Varnadore. Four players hovered at 11 under par 25.
The scoring pace slowed a bit for the leaders in round two. Newport carded a round of 26, putting him at 47 after two rounds. Coradini shot 25 in round two and was tied for the lead with Newport. On the strength of a 13 under par round of 23, 2010 PPA Senior National Champion Frank Warren used him unmatched home course knowledge to close within one of the lead at 48. Four players were closely bunched with scores of 50 after round two.
Coradini's mastery of the back nine proved to be the difference in the event. His final round of 14 under par 22 included what would be the first of three perfect back nines he would shoot for the weekend. The strength of his performance on the inward holes allowed him to shoot 69 for the day and grab a one stroke victory over Newport, who settled for runner up honors with a final round 23 and a total score of 70. Warrens play remained strong, and his finishing round of 24 put him in third place at 72. The cash line for the field was 78.
In the amateur division Chris Chafin, who won his first SPT APA event in High Point last year, started out the tournament with a strong score of 12 under par 24. Close behind at 10 under par 26 was 2000 APA South Carolina Match Play Champion Billy Caudle. Five players loomed one stroke behind Caudle at 27.
The top two positions stayed the same after round two. Chafin and Caudle both slowed their pace a bit and settled for 9 under par rounds of 27. Caudle was joined at a two round score of 53 by 2007 APA North Carolina State Champion Chris Alley, who turned in a round two score of 24. One stroke behind Alley were 2010 APA Florida State Champion David Myers and 1993 APA North Carolina State Champion Keith Waters, both tied at 54.
Caudle showed in the final round that he was not to be denied in the season opener. His fantastic final round of 15 under par 21 gave him a total score of 74 and secured a one stroke victory for him. Chafin, who had a very solid final round of 24, took runner up honors at 75. 2006 PPA Senior National Champion Steve Toomey, playing in his first APA event ever, finished in third place with a total score of 79.
The Southern Putting Tour will be back in action for the second event of the day, with tee off slated for approximately 4 pm this afternoon.
Article provided by the Southern Putting Tour