19th Hole: Granite Falls Golfer Wins World Amateur
Baxter Greene, a regular on the Western Piedmont division of the Amateur Golf Tour (AGT), emerged from a field of 3,829 golfers to capture the 2006 PGA Tour Superstore World Amateur Handicap Championship in early September.
The 57-year-old Greene turned in four strong rounds to win his flight, and then fired a net round of six-under 66 to defeat 42 other flight winners in the final playoff. He captured the title by two strokes over Carlton Carr of Enterprise, Ala.
Greene is a 24-handicapper who has been golfing for 13 years. He has been an avid participant on the Amateur Golf Tour the past two years.
He said the AGT's "tournament atmosphere" prepared him for the pressure of the largest handicap golf tourney in the world.
"I credit my play on the Amateur Golf Tour," Baxter said. "Without that, I probably would not have won." "Competition golf is different from regular, casual golf. A lot of people don't understand that."
This was the second year in the World Am for Greene, who lives in Granite Falls. Last year he finished in the middle of his flight, and things didn't look much different after the first round this year.
He opened with a net 73, before heating up with net scores of 63 and 67 in the next two rounds. He closed with a 73 in rainy conditions, good enough to win his flight and advance to the 18-hole playoff at the famed Dunes Golf & Beach Club.
"It's kind of sunk in the last week or so. It's a big deal," Greene said. "It's the world's biggest amateur handicap tournament. When you get out there in competition and play by the USGA rules, it's a different ball game. That's where the Amateur Golf Tour was a big help to me.
For his efforts, Greene earned an interview on the Golf Channel, a $750 gift certificate to the PGA Tour Superstore, a three-foot stainless steel trophy, and a lifetime of memories.
"What a great week of golf," Greene said, "This was my second time at the World Am and I can definitely say that this is the best amateur golf tournament in the country. I would like to thank the World Am staff for running such a well-organized tournament and The Dunes Club for allowing us to play on such a championship golf course."
Greene competes in the Amateur Golf Tour's D Flight. He has won seven times in 36 tournaments this year playing across four divisions -- Western Piedmont, Hilton Head, Charleston and Upstate South Carolina.
Roy Gainer of Oviedo, Fla., and Timothy Lemp of Maitland, Fla., teamed up to win the United States qualifier for the International Pairs Championship at The Dunes Golf and Beach Club and an all-expense paid trip to St. Andrews to represent the United States in the 2007 International Pairs World Finals.
For more information on the Amateur Golf Tour, visit www.amateurgolftour.net or call (704) 844-8264.
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