16 July 2006 - Richmond, VA - Before play began in the 22nd annual Virginia Open on historic course # 3 in Richmond, VA, pundits of the game projected that Darrell Anderson's 108-hole PPA scoring record of 139 would be in serious jeopardy. But rising carpet fibers due to the day's baking heat coupled with violent, swirling winds prevented any serious threat to Anderson's record. 2003 ProPutters.com Classic Champion Greg Newport and 2003 Virginia State Champion Gilbert Sharpe battled the difficult playing conditions admirably, tying for the lead after six rounds of regulation play at 144. Newport fired 23 in the ensuing play-off, acing the 18th hole to mathematically shut out runner-up Sharpe and earn his third Virginia Open title. 2005 South Carolina State Champion Vince Batten shot 148 to finish in third place. At 152, 1994 South Carolina State Champion Rick Baird completed the day in fourth position. A three-way fifth-place tie at 155 included 2005 PPA Senior National Champion Bill Baus, 2004 Virginia State Champion Matt Summey, and 2004 PPA National Doubles Champion Rick Rybaczek. After a nightmarish start to his title defense, 2006 PPA National Champion and defending champion Brad Lebo clawed his way back into eighth place at 156. Reigning Virginia State Champion Darrell Anderson earned the day's final money spot, finishing in ninth position at 159.
Play began with Newport jumping out of the gates with a sizzling opening-round 21, which would tie Sharpe's fifth-round 21 for the day's low round. Lebo and Fredericksburg local standout Ken Schooler shared second place at 23. With a first-round 24, Baird stood alone in fourth position. Tied for fifth place at 25 were Summey and 2005 Elton Davis Memorial Champion Lance Perdue.
Newport continued his torrid pace in the second round of action, firing 24 to maintain the 36-hole lead at 45. Schooler's second-round 25 moved him into sole possession of second place at 48. Lebo dropped into third position at 50. Bunched in a fourth-place tie at 51 were Sharpe, Baird, Anderson, and Perdue.
The day's winds and baking heat began to take their toll on field scoring during the third round of play. Despite a third-round 27, Newport enjoyed a three-stroke lead at the tournament's halfway mark with a 54-hole score of 72. With a third-round 23, Batten charged into second place at 75. Although he fired a third-round 29, Schooler clung to third position at 77. The trio of Sharpe, Baird, and Perdue shared fourth place at 78.
After a brief intermission for lunch and repairing of players by 54-hole standing, fourth round play began with continually-rising heat and increasing winds. The conditions were no match for Newport and Sharpe, however, as each carded a brilliant 22 to open the second-half action. With a 72-hole score of 94, Newport opened up a six-stroke lead over Sharpe and Batten, who stood in a tie for second place at 100. Schooler's fourth-round 24 placed him fourth at 101. At 103, Baird was in fifth position.
Sharpe's countless hours of pre-tournament preparation and limitless knowledge of all possible course conditions proved invaluable during the tournament's second half, as Sharpe carded a dazzling fifth-round 21 to move within two strokes of Newport's lead. Newport's 25 gave him the 90-hole lead at 119, with Sharpe hovering in second position at 121. Batten posted a sparkling fifth-round 23 to lurk in striking distance of the lead, in third place at 123. With a spectacular fifth-round 22, Baus pole-vaulted into a fourth place tie with Baird at 128.
Sharpe continued his scorching second-half pace during the tournament's final round of regulation, carding a 23 for a second-half three-round score of 66. At 144, Sharpe moved into a tie for the lead with Newport after the completion of 108 holes of play. Newport's final-round 25 would set up an 18-hole play-off with Sharpe for the Virginia Open title. Batten finished alone in third position, four strokes back at 148. Baird's sixth-round 24 gave him sole possession of fourth position at 152. Rybaczek's final-round 24 moved him into a fifth-place tie at 155 with Baus and Summey. Despite a dismal defense of his Virginia Open title, Lebo fought his way back into an eighth-place finish at 156. Anderson completed the day in ninth place at 159 and earned the event's final cash spot.
In the 18-hole play-off, Newport and Sharpe continued their stellar play. Newport stepped to the 18th tee of the play-off with honors, leading Sharpe by a stroke at 12-under par. Newport hit a perfect putt on the 18th hole and with the ensuing ace he mathematically eliminated Sharpe. In the process, Newport joined 1996 PPA National Champion Mike Brown as one of only two players to have hoisted the Virginia Open Cup victoriously for a third time. The win was the second of the 2006 PPA season for the former Laboratory Corporation transportation supervisor and gave Newport his fifth career major title on the Virginia PPA Tour.
In the amateur division, 2006 Virginia Tour APA Player of the Year frontrunner Barry Moore, winner of the previous day's event, came from behind to capture his second major title of the 2006 season. Moore fired rounds of 30, 26, 24, 27, 25, and 25 for a 108-hole total of 157 and a two-stroke victory over runner-up Mike Matthews. Defending APA champion Conway "the Can" Coffey finished alone in third place at 161. Third-round leader Brandon Whitton and reigning Virginia APA State Champion Chuck Dibbs rounded out the amateur top five, tied for fourth place at 162.
Action commenced in the amateur division with Lynchburg's Bill Petrie seizing the opening-round lead at 25. Sharing second place at 26 were Matthews and Whitton. Richmond local player Amy Smith held fourth position at 27. A fifth-place logjam at 28 included Dibbs, the dapperly-attired James Walker, 2000 Virginia APA State Champion Wayne Saunders, 2005 Virginia Putting Classic APA Champion Marty Handschuh, and Lynchburg local player Randy Baldwin.
Whitton used a second-round 25 to leapfrog to the top of the 36-hole leader board at 51. With a second-round 24, Walker jumped into second position at 52. The trio of Matthews, Richmond amateur standout Malcolm Shumaker, and Saunders shared third place at 53.
Despite a third-round 27, Whitton maintained leadership at the tournament's halfway mark at 78. Walker kept pace and was in second place at 79. With respective rounds of 24 and 25, Moore and Smith moved into a third-place tie at 80 with Saunders.
The amateur competition became as heated as the day's high temperatures during the fourth round. Moore and Smith kept their momentum going, each firing 27 to move into the 72-hole lead at 107. Whitton struggled to a fourth-round 30 to drop into a third-place tie with Walker at 108. Bunched in a tie for fifth position at 109 were Matthews, Dibbs, and Shumaker.
Moore posted a fifth-round 25 to take sole possession of the 90-hole lead at 132. Smith remained in close pursuit, firing 26 to take over second place at 133. Whitton rebounded from his fourth-round woes with a fifth-round 26 to jump into a third-place tie with Walker at 134. With a fifth-round 25, Coffey leaped into a tie for fifth place with Matthews at 135.
Moore took ultimate command of the event with a final-round 25. With the victory secured, Moore prudently laid up the final hole for a deuce and captured his first Virginia PPA Tour major amateur title. Moore's 108-hole total of 157 gave him his sixth win of the 2006 PPA season and increased his commanding lead even further in the 2006 Virginia APA Player of the Year race. Matthews posted a stellar final-round 24 to notch runner-up honors at 159. Coffey completed the day alone in third position at 161. Whitton and Dibbs shared fourth place at 162. Smith and Shumaker tied for sixth position at 164 and split the last amateur expense reimbursement spot for the tournament.
In Old Dominion Cup competition in the amateur division, the Richmond squad of Shumaker and Smith posted a six-round total of 149 en route to victory. Moore and Biesma finished in second place at 151, with Dibbs and Matthews capturing third-place honors at 153. The win moved Shumaker and Smith into second place in the 2006 Old Dominion Cup season standings behind frontrunners Moore and Biesma.
The Virginia PPA Tour membership would like to extend thanks to host professional and course manager Gary Hinshaw, his wife Patsy, and their staff for welcoming the Virginia PPA Tour to their beautiful Richmond, VA facility and hosting a weekend of very successful tour events. Their hospitality and efforts in maintaining the course in ideal playing condition were greatly appreciated by the tour players. The Virginia PPA Tour will return to action with 54-hole events to be held on course # 2 in Roanoke, VA on July 29 and 30. The Saturday, July 29 event will commence following the completion of the JPA National Championship events being held in Roanoke, VA that day. The Sunday, July 30 tournament will begin at 10:00 a.m.