Jeff Spainhour Posts Final-Round 23 En Route to Impressive Three-Stroke Victory in Lynchburg, VA
2 April 2011 - Lynchburg, VA - The Virginia PPA Tour gathered to contest the second of three weekend 54-hole tournaments on the tedious course # 1 layout at the beautiful Lynchburg, VA Putt-Putt Fun Center. Players were challenged by strong, swirling, unpredictable afternoon winds which were so violent at times that balls at rest on the carpets and teemats were blown out of position. As in the day's earlier event, the extreme playing conditions resulted in a wide range of field scoring.
If any player in the field was equipped to deal with the adverse conditions, it may have been 1985 PPA television contestant Jeff Spainhour. No stranger to competing in high winds, Spainhour for many years in his early playing days dominated the local tournament programs in the oft-blustery Tidewater area of Virginia. As well, the grizzled veteran's recently-cultivated Grizzly Adams beard provided much-needed warmth on the unseasonably chilly day. That combination ultimately proved deadly for Spainhour's fellow competitors. After opening the tournament with solid rounds of 29 and 26, Spainhour lurked just three strokes off of the 36-hole lead set by 2003 PPA National Champion Robert Johnson. Spainhour subsequently took control of the event by posting a spectacular tournament-low closing-round 23, giving him a comfortable three-stroke triumph with a 54-hole total of 78. In the process, Spainhour ended a victory drought which extended back to his win in a Virginia Tour event in Richmond, VA in 2003.
2007 PPA National Champion Rick Baird performed admirably in the trying conditions, carding steady rounds of 27, 26, and 28 for a three-round score of 81 to earn runner-up honors for the second consecutive tournament. Johnson struggled on the finishing holes of the event but held on to finish third at 85. After soaring to the top of the first-round leaderboard at 24, defending champion Rick Rybaczek settled for a fourth-place finish at 86. 2006 PPA National Champion Brad Lebo and 2000 Dogwood Open Champion Rusty Taylor shared fifth position at 90. The last of the nine money spots allocated in the event came at a 54-hole score of 95.
In the amateur division, a closely-contested battle developed after two rounds. Two-time APA National Doubles Champion Malcolm Shumaker removed any drama from the amateur division outcome, however, by breaking away from the field with a timely final-round 27 to notch his first win of the 2011 season. With initial rounds of 29 and 31, Shumaker established a narrow one-stroke lead over highly-decorated Lynchburg amateur standout Conway Coffey with one round remaining. As Coffey faded in the third round, however, Shumaker cruised to a six-stroke victory with a 54-hole total of 87. Two-time APA National Champion Clayton Craft, Esq. crafted a closing-round 28 to join Coffey and first-round co-leader Joey Graybeal in a second-place logjam at 93. Ping C-67-wielding Wade Driskill, the other first-round co-leader, completed the tournament in fifth position at 94 to secure the final amateur division expense reimbursement spot awarded in the event.
Action will resume on the Virginia PPA Tour with another 54-hole tournament on course # 1 at the Lynchburg, VA Putt-Putt Fun Center commencing at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, April 3, 2011.
Article provided by Brad Lebo