Ponte Vedra Beach, FL –The Golf Channel Amateur Tour held the 1st Major Championship of the 2012 calendar year this past weekend. Over 180 competitors from across the country competed and got a preview of two of the courses that will be used this fall in the National Championship (TPC Sawgrass – Dye’s Valley and TPC Sawgrass – PLAYERS Stadium), with the top three and ties in each flight qualifying for the aforementioned National Championship. Cold and wind were factors on both days that led to some high scoring.
|Curtis Boyer - Championship Flight Champion|
40-year old Curtis Boyer of Howie in the Hills, FL was the overnight leader after posting a solid round of 1-over par 73 on the Valley Course in difficult conditions. Playing in the final round on the PLAYERS Stadium Course, Boyer had a two-shot lead over 2009 National Champion Pete DeTemple of Callaway, MD with two holes to play. On the island green 17th, Boyer’s tee shot was fortunate to find land, ending up on the walkway to the island green. Boyer would go on to bogey 17 and 18, while DeTemple made some gritty pars to get into a playoff at 6-over par 150 for the championship. Boyer and DeTemple would exchange pars on the two opening playoff holes, with Boyer hanging on to win his 1st Major Championship on the third playoff hole. With the win Boyer undoubtedly made a statement that he is a talented player and one that could likely be there down the stretch again at the National Championship this fall. K.C Fox of Sarasota, the 2011 Senior National Champion runner-up, finished in 3rd place.
In the Palmer Flight Daryl Ewing of Indian Land, SC was the only player to break into the 70’s, pacing the field with an opening round of 79. Ewing would never relinquish his lead, winning the Palmer Flight by a single stroke at 19-over par 163. Finishing in 2nd place was Charles Sponaugle of Simpsonville, SC. Charles, who could have found a playoff with a par on his final hole, finished in 2nd place at 20-over par 164. Alex Ojea of Miami, FL finished up in 3rd place at 23-over par 167.
|Palmer Flight Player takes aim at #17|
The Hogan Flight saw only two players break into the 80’s for both rounds in the tough conditions. In the end 74 year-old Tommy Williams of Marion, MS would prevail thanks to a performance of 88-86—174, his 1st Major Championship win in his career. Min Li of Lutherville, MD, who shared the overnight lead with Williams, finished up in 2nd place 33-over par 177. Paul Kerr of San Diego, CA rounded out the top three at 34-over par 178.
In the Sarazen Flight Montez Murray of Bel Alton, MD had what seemed to be an insurmountable lead of five strokes after a great 1st round of 86. Andrew Veite of Mount Olivet, KY was a full nine-strokes back entering the final round and made a ferocious charge. With Murray struggling to a score of 102 on Sunday, Veite posted a 93 to tie Murray after 36-holes of play at 44-over par 188. Murray would prevail in the playoff, earning the Sarazen Flight trophy. Ray Kolkmann of Hopewell Junction, NY wrapped up third place, three strokes out of the playoff.
In the Jones Flight just one player was able to keep it in the double digits for both rounds, seeing Josh Norris of Brooksville, KY claiming the flight at 97-96—193. Steven Flora, also from Kentucky, finished in 2nd place at 51-over par 195. Ron Barbaza rounded out the top three at 54-over par 198.
Corey Long of Asheville, NC was not able to manage a single par or better in the final round and was still able to run away with the Snead Flight at 57-over par 201. Don Risner of Bakersfield, CA finished in 2nd place at 63-over par 207. David Signorino of Winfield, MD rounded out the top three at 65-over par 209.
In the Senior Palmer Flight Brad Polhemus of Jacksonville, FL got some home-cooking and was the wire-to-wire winner. Polhemus was the only player in the flight to break 80 both days, notching an impressive 8-stroke win at 78-77—155 (+11). Gene Johnson of Palm Beach Gardens, FL wrapped up 2nd place at 19-over par 163, while Jeff True of Naples, FL road a final round of 80 to a third place finish at 22-over par 166.
In the Senior Hogan Flight Ravi Kannan of Snellville, GA and Marc Milman of Tequesta, FL had quite a battle. Both players would end up needing extra holes to determine the Senior Hogan Flight Champion after they tied at 33-over par 177. Kannan would wind up winning, his 1st Major Championship victory since last season. Richard Frost of London, ON snatched up third place at 36-over par 180.
The Senior Sarazen Flight saw an impressive wire-to-wire performance from Frank Cannon of Longwood, FL. Cannon would go on to win the flight by two strokes at 88-96—184 (+40). Steve Fox of Annapolis, MD posted the 2nd-lowest score in the flight on Sunday to move up to 2nd place at 42-over par 186. Tom Ward of Woodridge, IL played well and finished in 3rd place at 43-over par 187.
In the Senior Jones Flight Joseph Lallier of Largo, FL fired the lowest round in the flight by 6 strokes on Sunday, an 88, to win the flight in commanding fashion at 97-88—185 (+41). Terry Lubinsky of Longwood, FL finished in 2nd position at 47-over par 191. James Adams of Vero Beach, FL rounded out the top 3 at 49-over par 193.
John Damron of Columbus, OH showed no “winter rust” on his way to claiming the Senior Snead Flight. Damron would lead all weekend, winning with a two-day total of 54-over par 198 and was the only player in the flight to break the 200 barrier. Rick Scibek of Raleigh, NC finished in 2nd place at 59-over par 203. Cordy Worth of Landrum, SC claimed 3rd place at 60-over par 204.
Of note, the official charity of the Golf Channel Amateur Tour, Troops First, earned $1,400 thanks to the donations of the event’s participants.