Greg Ward Defies High Winds to Capture His Fourth-Career PPA Western Open Title

14-15 April 2012 - Lake Charles, LA - The PPA National Tour ventured to course # 1 at the beautiful Lake Charles, LA Putt-Putt Fun Center to contest the initial event on the 2012 PPA National Tour schedule, the PPA Western Open, hosted by the PPA Southwest Putting Tour. Course owner and current APA member Greg Simpson and his staff worked diligently preparing the course in the weeks leading up to the event to create ideal playing conditions ripe for low scoring. With an abbreviated 108-hole format having been instituted for the PPA Western, Southern, Northern, and Eastern Opens in 2012, pundits of the sport anticipated a tightly-bunched and highly-volatile leaderboard in this event. However, violent, swirling, and unpredictable high winds throughout the weekend challenged the field, resulting in a wide range of field scoring.

PPA Hall of Fame member Greg Ward of Loganville, GA, the PPA's all-time leader in career wins and money earnings, began the final eight holes of the tournament in a three-way tie for the lead with final-day playing partners 2009 PPA National Champion Tony Varnadore and 2006 PPA National Champion Brad Lebo. Undaunted, Ward adeptly aced six of his final eight holes through whipping winds to edge out Varnadore by one stroke and capture his fourth-career PPA Western Open title. Ward posted rounds of 25, 22, 21, 26, 25, and 26 for a 71-under-par, 108-hole total of 145 to earn the $800.00 winner's check. Always as gracious in victory as he is talented, Ward commented following his win, "I can't remember a tournament in which all three players in the final group were tied for first place with eight holes left. The wind definitely added to the craziness. I was very happy that things went my way at the end of the tournament. It could have just as easily been Varnadore or Lebo who came out on top. I got a few breaks along the way that helped me escape with the win." Varnadore settled for runner-up honors at 146. 2008 GA State Champion Jeff Carr performed very steadily throughout the event to finish third at 149. A two-way, fourth-place tie at 150 included Lebo and former PPA television contestant Joe Lea.

Action commenced on a sunsplashed but windswept Saturday afternoon with Lebo seizing the early lead with a sizzling opening-round 22. Defending champion Frank Warren began his title defense with vigor, posting 23 to tie PPA Hall of Fame member Jay Klapper for second place. At 24, former PPA television contestant Jeff McDonald held fourth position. A considerable gaggle of players bunched in a fifth-place tie at 25 included Ward, Varnadore, Carr, reigning PPA National Champion Andy Coradini, Lake Charles putting icon Byron Kirby, 1975 PPA Player of the Year Dan Anders, and always-dangerous James White.

With a pair of dazzling second-round 22's, Ward and Varnadore joined Lebo, who fired a second-round 25, in a three-way tie atop the 36-hole leaderboard at 47. Carr and Klapper stood in joint fourth position at 49.

Riding the momentum which he created in the second round, Ward crafted an even more spectacular third-round 21, the low round of the tournament, to establish the first-day lead at an eye-popping 54-hole total of 68. Lebo shot a third-round 24 to take sole possession of second place at 71. Varnadore posted 25 and would join Ward and Lebo in the closing-day's final pairing at 72. At 74, Carr lurked in fourth position. A three-way, fifth-place tie at 76 included 2012 PPA Hall of Fame inductee Randy Reeves, Klapper, and Thomas Rawles, who climbed up the leaderboard with a third-round 22.

Despite an early-morning starting time for the final day of play, the field once again battled violent and unpredictable gusting winds throughout the second day of action. Ward began his march to glory admirably, firing a fourth-round 26 to remain atop the leaderboard after 72 holes at 94. With respective rounds of 25 and 24, however, Lebo and Varnadore gained ground on Ward, as the duo hovered in a tie for second place at 96, just two strokes behind Ward's lead. Carr opened the day with 24 to remain in fourth position at 98. At 102, Lea stood alone in fifth place.

With a penultimate-round 25, Ward maintained a two-stroke advantage after 90 holes at 119. Lebo equalled Ward's fifth-round 25 to stay within two strokes of the lead, in second place at 121. Varnadore dropped into third position at 122 after firing 26. Carr remained in contention with 25 to hold fourth place at 123. At 127, Lea entered the final round alone in fifth.

The ever-increasing winds continued to wreak havoc on the field as players embarked on the event's final round. The competition intensified through the first nine holes, as Ward, Lebo, and Varnadore carded respective final-round outward nine scores of 14, 13, and 11. Ward and Varnadore began the inward nine tied for the lead, with Lebo just one stroke behind them. After successfully converting a nightmarish deuce effort at the 9th, Lebo recorded an unanswered ace on the fickle 10th hole to make it a three-way tie for the lead with eight holes left to play in the event. Lebo struggled in the remainder of the round, however, and the tournament developed into a two-way dogfight between Ward and Varnadore on the closing eight holes. Ward aced holes 11-14 to open up a two-shot lead on Varnadore. Varnadore responded with an ace on the 15th hole to cut Ward's lead to one stroke. Ward aced the 16th hole to regain a two-stroke advantage over Varnadore, but Varnadore once again cut Ward's lead to one shot with a birdie at the 17th. With honors, Varnadore made a hole-in-one on the 18th hole. Needing an ace to win, Ward struck his ace effort on the 18th hole perfectly, and as his tee shot found the bottom of the cup for a hard-fought sixth-round 26, Ward notched his fourth career PPA Western Open title with a 108-hole total of 145.

Varnadore earned runner-up honors at 146 with his final-round 24. With a closing-round 26, Carr jumped into third position at 149. Lebo and Lea tied for fourth place at 150. Charging the clubhouse with a finishing-round 22, Reeves maneuvered into sixth at 152. 2007 PPA National Champion Rick Baird courageously rebounded from a disappointing first day with a second-day 54-hole total of 72 to complete the tournament in seventh position at 154. A two-way tie for eighth place included two-time PPA National Match Play Champion Charlie Greenwalt and 1968 PPA Parade of Champions participant Gary Love, who tied Ward for the tournament's low round with a final-round 21. Six-time Texas/Western Tour Champion Jeffrey Smith, who climbed up the final leaderboard with a closing-round 22, and Rawles rounded out the event's top ten finishers, tied for tenth position at 156.

The cash line for the 28 money spots awarded in the professional division fell at a 108-hole score of 168. Ward, Varnadore, Carr, Lebo, and Lea accepted the five spots offered to the top five finishers in the 2012 PPA Western Open for free entry fees into the professional division of the 2012 PPA Tournament Players Championship to be held during the PPA National Championship week.

In the amateur division, Geoffrey Mosk of Pearland, TX outdeuled youthful 2009 Lousiana Open APA Champion Ty Newcomb of Moss Bluff, LA in a tightly-contested 18-hole playoff to earn the first National Tour APA title of his career. Newcomb built a five-shot lead after the first day of play with opening rounds of 26, 23, and 26 for a 54-hole total of 75. Mosk, who fired first-day rounds of 31, 25, and 24, and Lake Charles local standout Charles Cox joined Newcomb in the closing day's final pairing, tied at 80. Mosk and Newcomb separated from the rest of the amateur field after 90 holes. With stellar fourth and fifth rounds of 23 and 24 for a 90-hole total of 127, Mosk pole-vaulted into a two-stroke lead over Newcomb, who began the second day with matching rounds of 27. The talented teen saved his best for last, however, as Newcomb made an inspired clubhouse run to manufacture a final-round 22, the low round of the event in the amateur division, and tie Mosk, who carded a last-round 24, with an impressive 108-hole score of 151. In the ensuing 18-hole playoff, Mosk charged to a three-stroke lead after eight holes and made the turn leading Newcomb, 12-14. Newcomb cut the deficit to one shot by acing the 13th hole, but with unanswered aces on the 14th and 15th holes, Mosk again increased his lead to three strokes and held on to triumph in the playoff by a final tally of 26-28. 2010 APA National Champion Joey Graybeal completed the event in third place at 159. With respective closing rounds of 25 and 24, 2011 ProPutters.com Classic APA Champion Danny Tatum and 2009 Western Open APA Champion Mickey DeLucca shared fourth position at 163. The final of the nine amateur division expense reimbursement spots allocated in the tournament fell at a score of 167.

The PPA National Tour membership extends its thanks and expresses it great appreciation to course owner Greg Simpson, the Simpson family, and the course staff for their warm hospitality and extensive efforts in hosting a very successful tournament weekend. The PPA National Tour returns to action on the weekend of June 2-3, 2012 when the PPA Southern Putting Tour will host the 108-hole PPA Southern Open on course # 2 at the High Point, NC Putt-Putt Fun Center. Action is scheduled to commence at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 2 and at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday, June 3.

 

 

 

Professional Division of the 2012 PPA Western Open
(Lake Charles, LA - Course # 1 - 14-15 April 2012)

Round
Prize
Player Name
1
2
3
4
5
6
Total
Money
1
Greg Ward
25
22
21
26
25
26
145
 $    800.00
2
Tony Varnadore
25
22
25
24
26
24
146
 $    700.00
3
Jeff Carr
25
24
25
24
25
26
149
 $    600.00
4
Brad Lebo
22
25
24
25
25
29
150
 $    510.00
Joe Lea
26
25
26
25
25
23
150
 $    510.00
6
Randy Reeves
26
25
25
28
26
22
152
 $    430.00
7
Rick Baird
27
30
25
23
25
24
154
 $    390.00
8
Gary Love
27
24
27
27
29
21
155
 $    337.50
Charlie Greenwalt
28
28
27
23
23
26
155
 $    337.50
10
Thomas Rawles
28
26
22
28
27
25
156
 $    290.00
Jeffrey Smith
27
26
26
28
27
22
156
 $    290.00
12
Jeff McDonald
24
27
29
25
26
27
158
 $    260.00
13
Frank Warren
23
31
25
25
28
28
160
 $    240.00
Joe Shirey
31
26
24
23
28
28
160
 $    240.00
15
Jay Klapper
23
26
27
28
26
31
161
 $    215.00
Mike Baldoza
29
22
28
26
30
26
161
 $    215.00
Greg Newport
31
28
26
23
26
27
161
 $    215.00
18
Wade Sahmel
25
32
28
26
26
25
162
 $    200.00
19
Rainey Statum
27
27
24
28
29
28
163
 $    190.00
Brice Bergesen
27
23
29
27
28
29
163
 $    190.00
Andy Coradini
25
27
28
28
29
26
163
 $    190.00
22
Matt McCaslin
27
26
28
27
27
29
164
 $    177.50
David Jones
30
29
26
27
22
30
164
 $    177.50
24
Rick Rybaczek
28
29
27
25
27
29
165
 $    170.00
25
Byron Kirby
25
29
24
32
29
27
166
 $    158.33
James White
25
30
27
30
28
26
166
 $    158.33
Dan Anders
25
28
30
26
28
29
166
 $    158.33
28
Tim Jones
30
26
28
28
26
30
168
 $    150.00
29
Tony Newcomb
30
28
32
28
28
23
169
  
30
Randy Orr
29
29
30
27
29
27
171
  
David Barnett
31
30
30
27
24
29
171
  
32
Rick Ossenfort
29
32
27
27
29
29
173
  
33
Pat Simpson
30
30
25
30
30
29
174
  
Brexton Friend
31
27
34
28
28
26
174
  
35
Greg Roberts
30
29
31
28
30
27
175
  
36
Lee Messinger
30
28
31
29
32
28
178
  
37
Jon Drexler
32
27
32
29
30
29
179
  

 

Amateur Division of the 2012 PPA Western Open
(Lake Charles, LA - Course # 1 - 14-15 April 2012)

Round
Expense
Player Name
1
2
3
4
5
6
Total
Money
1
Geoffrey Mosk *
31
25
24
23
24
24
151
 $    40.00
2
Ty Newcomb
26
23
26
27
27
22
151
 $    20.00
3
Joey Graybeal
28
24
29
26
26
26
159
 $    20.00
4
Danny Tatum
29
27
26
28
28
25
163
 $    20.00
Mickey DeLucca
33
26
23
26
31
24
163
 $    20.00
6
Bonnie White
29
26
31
27
27
24
164
 $    20.00
Larry Smith
28
28
25
29
25
29
164
 $    20.00
8
Charles Cox
26
24
30
29
29
28
166
 $    20.00
9
Nathan Anderson
27
29
25
32
27
27
167
 $    20.00
10
Alan Sahmel
28
29
26
25
30
30
168
  
11
Steve Tanton
33
27
27
28
28
26
169
  
12
Trevor Lewin
29
28
27
28
29
29
170
  
Andrew Barbie
31
27
30
27
27
28
170
  
14
Greg Simpson
32
30
29
24
31
25
171
  
15
Adam Sahmel
31
27
29
30
32
24
173
  
Todd Trent
30
28
30
26
30
29
173
  
17
Jack Ramsey
30
28
27
31
28
32
176
  
18
Walter Henry
28
29
31
32
32
28
180
  
19
Lynn Self
31
35
33
33
31
30
193
  
20
Ken Stanfill
44
35
38
34
39
37
227
  
* Won 18-Hole Playoff 26-28