Golf Bag: Kay, Jobe Junior Series Winners
Andrew Kay used a 1-under-par 69 in Sunday's second round to build a huge lead and went on to take a 15-stroke victory in the junior/senior division of the Winternational Junior Series being played at Pinehurst Resort.
The first and third rounds were played on the famed Pinehurst No. 2 Course, while the middle round was played on Pinehurst No. 3.
Kay, of Pittsford N.Y., opened with a 74 and closed with a 75 for a 218 total that left second-place Taylor Sharber of Florence, S.C. in his wake.
Sharber made a brief run in the final round, closing the margin to five shots through the first five holes. Kay responded by playing the final 13 holes in 1 over par to win going away as Sharber faded with an 83.
Andy Prascak of Carnegie, Pa., took third with 241.
The freshman/sophomore division was decided in a sudden-death battle between two Fayetteville players. Brandon Jobe and Kevin Autry were tied at 237 after 54 holes of regulation play. Both players birdied the third playoff hole to extend the match that ended when Jobe ran in a 60-foot eagle putt on the par-5 fourth playoff hole.
Autry had opened with rounds of 77-76 and held a three-stroke lead going into Monday's final round, but he shot 84 to Jobe's 81, forcing the playoff.
Justin Evans of Spring Lake finished third at 238. Joseph Nichols of Laurinburg posted with 247, while Douglass of Pinehurst was at 254.
Michelle Ahn of Chapel Hill used a 1-under-par 73 in the final round to score a runaway victory in the girls' division. She finished at 232 with Brooke Kochevar of Glen Ellyn, Ill., a distant second at 276.
The sixth event of the season will be held Jan. 26-28 on Pinehurst's No. 5 Course. For information contact Peter deYoung at 295-5661, or visit the Web site at www.juniorgolfpinehurst.com.
Sunbelt Tour: Don Barnes, a Carolinas PGA professional at Colonial Charters in North Myrtle Beach quit his job in 1996 to follow a dream.
Barnes and his wife, Yvonne, established the Sunbelt Senior Professional Golf Tour 11 years ago, with all of the events played in Myrtle Beach. Today the dream has developed into the longest running and most successful regional senior golf tour in the country.
The Sunbelt Tour has conducted more than 300 tournaments from Florida to Pennsylvania and paid out more than $3 million in purses.
"Many other tours have come and gone over the last 11 years," Barnes said, "but we're still thriving because we have not abandoned our founding principles of honesty, integrity, and professionalism."
The quality of players continued to rise throughout the years and now it is the place for senior "wannabes" to test their games. More than 20 former PGA Tour and Champions Tour members have played on the Sunbelt Tour.
These players have won a combined 30 PGA Tour events as well as at least 10 tournaments on the Champions Tour, European Senior Tour and the Nationwide Tour, and more than 100 members have won money on the Champions Tour.
At the 2006 Champions Tour National Qualifying School, 10 Sunbelt Tour players qualified for their associate membership. Seven of the nine senior contestants on the recently aired Golf Channel's "Big Break VI" series played on the Sunbelt Tour.
The Sunbelt Tour provides playing opportunities for quality senior golfers, contributes to local charities, makes an economic impact in smaller communities, and provides positive publicity for their sponsors/partners, according to Barnes.
Through the efforts of some hard-working tournament committees, the Tour contributed $20,000 to the First Tee of the Sandhills, $20,000 to the City of North Myrtle Beach for an ADA beach cross-over, $10,000 to the Unit Scholarship Fund, and $10,000 to the All American Strategic Response Force.
The Tour will conduct 12 to 14 tournaments in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina during the coming season.
Barnes is proud of the quality of venues hosting this year's schedule including Tanglewood Park in Clemmons, previous site of the Vantage Championship on the Champions Tour as well as the host of the 1974 PGA Championship.
Another outstanding tournament, the Greater Atlanta Senior Classic, will be held at Chateau Elan Winery and Resort, rated 4 stars by Golf Digest. Tidewater Golf Plantation in North Myrtle Beach, which is ranked in the top 10 courses in South Carolina, will host the 7th Annual T&J Development South Carolina Senior Open, and National Golf Club, a Jack Nicklaus signature golf course in Pinehurst that was the site for two PGA Tour qualifying schools, will host The Patriot, a season-ending charity pro/am.
The complete schedule for 2007 can be found online at www.sunbeltseniortour.com.
"We look forward to the challenges ahead, and with the help and support of this year's members, sponsors, and tournament volunteers, the Sunbelt Senior Professional Golf Tour will continue to lead the way," Barnes said.
More like this story