Rick Rybaczek Conquers High Winds and Field to Capture Virginia Tour Season Opener in Lynchburg, VA
2 April 2011 - Lynchburg, VA - On a chilly and extremely windy early spring morning, course owner and PPA Commissioner Joe Aboid graciously welcomed the Virginia PPA Tour to his sprawling and immaculately-maintained Lynchburg, VA Putt-Putt Fun Center to open its 2011 schedule with the first of three weekend 54-hole tournaments on the facility's challenging and creatively-designed course # 1 layout. Most players in the field of 17 professionals and 11 amateur contestants had great familiarity with the course, as it played host to the PPA National Championship week in September 2010.
Two-time PPA National Doubles Champion Rick Rybaczek began the day sluggishly, mired in a tenth-place tie after an opening-round 32. As the winds became significantly more violent during the second round of action, however, the Master of the Zephyr predictably found his stride. Rybaczek fired a middle-round 25 to pole-vault to within four strokes of second-round co-leaders Manfred Stewart and defending champion Rick Baird, who at 53 were deadlocked atop the 36-hole leaderboard. Riding the momentum into the closing round, Rybaczek figuratively mocked Mother Nature and the field with a brilliant tournament-low third-round 24 to secure a two-stroke victory, his first of the young 2011 PPA season, with a 54-hole total of 81. Baird earned runner-up honors at 83. At 85, 2006 PPA National Champion Brad Lebo and 2000 Dogwood Open Champion Rusty Taylor shared third place. Stewart rounded out the tournament's top five finishers at 86. The cash line for the nine money spots awarded in the event fell at a three-round score of 92.
In the amateur division, College of William and Mary senior John Petrie took full advantage of his extensive local course knowledge and experience to build upon his impressive history of success on the Lynchburg courses. Petrie carded rounds of 27, 27, and 32 for a 54-hole score of 86 to force an 18-hole playoff with reigning APA National Champion Joey Graybeal. Upon defeating Graybeal in the playoff, Petrie, the 2004 JPA National Champion, notched his ninth-career amateur division win in Lynchburg in his first start of the 2011 season. Lynchburg local standout Wade Driskill and 2003 APA National Champion Bonnie White tied for third place at 92 and earned the final amateur division expense reimbursement spots allocated in the tournament. Proud father of the amateur division winner and reigning APA National Doubles Champion Bill Petrie shot 94 to complete the event in fifth position.
The Virginia PPA Tour will return to action with another 54-hole event on course # 1 at the Lynchburg, VA Putt-Putt Fun Center beginning at approximately 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 2, 2011.
Article provided by Brad Lebo