Brad Lebo Fires 74 to Earn Dramatic One-Stroke Victory Over Rick Baird in Lynchburg, VA
3 April 2011 - Lynchburg, VA - The Virginia PPA Tour held the third of three weekend 54-hole tournaments on the uniquely-designed course # 1 layout at PPA Commissioner Joe Aboid's picturesque Lynchburg, VA Putt-Putt Fun Center. The challenging, unrelenting high winds encountered by players in the previous day's two events mercifully gave way to a relatively calm, sunny but cool spring morning. As a result, general field scoring improved significantly. Several players took full advantage of the gift from nature.
Play began at a furious pace, as 2006 PPA National Champion Brad Lebo and the always-dangerous James White matched tournament-low 24's to take a one-stroke lead over a trio of pursuers after the opening round. The group at 25 included 2007 PPA National Champion Rick Baird, who fired a second-consecutive 25 in the event's middle round to join Lebo atop the second-round leaderboard at 50. White hovered just a stroke behind the 36-hole leaders at 51. Lebo and Baird carried their momentum into the final round, which developed into a two-player battle on the inward nine holes. Playing in the first pairing, Baird carded a final-round 25 to establish the 54-hole clubhouse lead at 75. Cognizant of his need to birdie the final three holes of regulation to secure victory, Lebo recorded dramatic aces on holes 16, 17, and 18 for a closing-round 24 to post a bogey-free 54-hole total of 74 and capture his first win of the 2011 PPA season. Despite his stellar performance, Baird settled for his third runner-up finish of the weekend and fourth in ten events in the 2011 PPA season. White shot a third-round 29 to finish third at 80. At 83, 2003 PPA National Champion Robert Johnson and PPA Hall of Fame legend Daryl Freeman tied for fourth position. The final of the nine money spots awarded in the tournament fell at a three-round total of 87.
In the amateur division, reigning APA National Champion Joey Graybeal commenced the tournament by manufacturing rounds of 27 and 24, the low round of the day in the amateur division, to open up a four-stroke 36-hole lead at 51 over three-time Virginia APA State Champion Conway Coffey. With a final-round 31, however, Graybeal opened the door of opportunity for Coffey. Coffey fought valiantly, percolating a closing-round 28, but Graybeal's 54-hole total of 82 was enough to earn a one-stroke triumph, his third of the 2011 season. Coffey notched runner-up honors at 83. At 87, two-time APA National Champion Clayton Craft won the battle for third place. All-time APA 54-hole scoring record holder Mark Smith completed the event in fourth position at 88 and garnered the last of the amateur division expense reimbursement spots allocated in the tournament. Lynchburg local standout Wade Driskill shot 27 in the final round to leapfrog into a fifth-place tie at 89 with defending champion Malcolm Shumaker.
The Virginia PPA Tour wishes to thank course owner Joe Aboid and his able staff for warmly welcoming the tour to the Lynchburg, VA Putt-Putt Fun Center for a weekend of highly successful tour events. PPA Commissioner Aboid's extensive efforts to prepare the course and facility for the weekend's tournaments as always were greatly appreciated by all. The Virginia PPA Tour resumes play on the weekend of April 9-10, 2011 on historic course # 3 at the Richmond, VA Putt-Putt Fun Center. Two 54-hole tournaments will be contested on Saturday, April 9. The first of those events will tee off at 11:00 a.m., with the second tournament scheduled to commence at approximately 3:30 p.m. On Sunday, April 10, a third 54-hole event is slated to begin at 10:00 a.m.
Article provided by Brad Lebo