Saturday, April 28, 2012

The "Show Me State" Hosts A Major Championship - Lake Of The Ozarks Classic

Lake Of The Ozarks, MO (April 22, 2012)  The Lodge of Four Seasons played host to Golf Channel Am Tour players from around the country for The Lake Of The Ozarks Classic over the weekend.

This Major Championship was played on two championship quality golf courses.  The Cove course, a Robert Trent Jones design and the The Ridge course wind their way through the rolling hills with altitude changes, tight fairways and great views of the lake.  Both courses offered its own set of challenges for players vying for a Major Championship title and National Championship qualification that goes to the top 3 finishers in each flight.  Mild weather on Saturday, with wet and soggy conditions gave way to drying fairways and cooler temperatures on Sunday for the final push to the Championship.


Championship Flight:  Dunlap, IL first time AM Tour player Brooks Biggs made the best of his travels from the Peoria, IL  area to capture the title by 12 strokes.  Biggs ended the first day four strokes back but stayed on an even keel to finish at even par for the two days.  Steve Lusk from Ponca City, OK recorded his best finish at a Major in the second spot one stroke ahead of Sapulpa, OK member Curt Howard who took the last National Championship qualification in the flight.

Palmer Flight:  15 year old, Oklahoma City, OK player,  Ethan Smith led the final pairing into the Sunday round, but couldn't overcome par 5 troubles and opened the playoff door for John Todd from Wright City, MO. On the second hole of the playoff Todd prevailed with a par 3 to take the title.  Russ Pitts from Wellsville, KS, Russellville, AR member Wayne Baldwin  and Rocky Jones from Platte City, MO finished in a tie for third spot and punched their tickets to the National Championships.

Senior Palmer Flight:   First year member Dusty Rhodes from Deer Park, TX picked up his third and biggest win on tour, six strokes ahead of a group behind him.  John Montazzoli from Edmond, OK and The Woodlands, TX resident Herb Reynolds finished in a tie for the 2nd spot.

Hogan Flight:   Brack Blackwood from Grandbury, TX, became a two time Major winner on the year with a two day total of  +12 - 155.  Blackwood the Texas Open at Horseshoe Bay winner in March picked up his 5th win of the season by six strokes over Zack Whitlock from Broken Arrow, OK.  Back in the pack after the first day Chino Hills, CA member Sergio Valenzuela surged into a third place spot with a final day +6 - 78.

Senior Hogan Flight: Houston, TX native Bill Mathews took home top honors in the Sr Hogan flight, making it his second win in his last three majors played – to go along with his victory at the 2011  Texas Masters at TPC San Antonio.  After starting rough on the way out Matthews made the turn with a par and birdie on the par 3, second that would prove to be the difference.  Randy Snodgrass from Versailles, IN finished one stroke back after shooting his way into the runner up spot with a second round +9 - 80.  Also coming from mid pack, Brighton, CO member Gary Spears matched Snodgrass for low round of the day, rounding out the top three, one stroke back.

Sarazen Flight:   The 2nd player with multiple 2012 Major Championships, overnight leader Randy Throgmorton from Carbondale, IL stayed on a steady track winning wire to wire by 8 strokes over Rockwall, TX player Joseph Roy.   Randy Miller  from Wentzville, MO and Hill Country member John Heintz from San Antonio, TX tied up the 3rd spot and final National Championship qualifications.

Senior Sarazen Flight:   Vic Okler from Ballwin, MO  held on for a one stroke win over Vista, CA player Michael Valdepena.   Valdenpena birdied the par 5, fifth to stay one stroke clear of Tom Ward  from Woodridge, IL.

Jones Flight:   Clay Koenig from Forsyth, IL has been on a roll in 2012 and notched his fifth win on tour this season.  Three strokes back after the first day, Koenig shot a flight low round, 86 to win by 9 strokes over George Hardgrove from New Hope, MN.   Marietta, GA player John McAleer finished four strokes back to punch his Nationals ticket.

Senior Jones Flight:  Richard Ledbetter from Chillicothe, IL shot his way into a playoff with a flight low round 88 on the final day, but in the end Lewisville, TX native Ron Hardy took the top spot on the first extra hole.  Four strokes back another tie between John Mudrock of Streator, IL and  Vernon Livergood from Kansas City, MO ensured the pair a National Championship qualification.

Snead Flight:  Rounding out a “family double double”  David Blackwood  from San Antonio, TX took 14 strokes off his first day total to win by one stroke.  David, who like his father, was also a winner at the March Texas Open at Horseshoe Bay edged out Creve Coeur, MO player Nimal Gunasinghe by a stroke. Overnight leader David Small from St. Peters, MO and Hill Country member Carlos Cruz finished T3.

Senior Snead Flight:   In an all St. Louis Tour top three, Weldon Spring, MO member Steve Oien  and  Chuck Miller from DeSoto, MO took it to extra holes where Oien would prevail.  One stroke back,  Russell Hollenbeck from Des Peres, MO finished in the runner-up position

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