19th Hole: Butler Did It, Claims Tour's Richest Purse
Paul Butler was an unlikely winner in the Tarheel Tour's richest-ever event held at Oldfield Country Club in Okatie, S.C., last week.
The former Limestone College star had missed the cut in the tournament at RiverTowne last week by a whopping 10 strokes, and things didn't look a whole lot better when he opened the 54-hole TPGG Classic with a 75.
A second-round 67 moved Butler to within three shots of the lead. However, he wasted no time in catching up in the final round, posting birdies on holes 1, 4 and 8. His closing 67 edged runner-up Fernando Mechereffe by a shot and paid off with the largest first-place check ever presented by the Tarheel Tour -- $40,000.
"I felt like if I could make some birdies down the stretch, I could put some pressure on the leaders," Butler said.
He accomplished that by making birdie on the treacherous par-3 13th and then rolling in a 10-foot birdie putt on the final hole. Mechereffe closed with seven consecutive pars to tie Kevin Kisner for second and claim his fourth runner-up finish on the Tour. They earned $18,000 each from the $250,000 purse.
David Sanchez, Stephen Poole, Will McGirt and Jay McLuen tied for fourth and earned $9,825 for their efforts. Of the foursome, Sanchez was in the best position to force Butler into extra holes. Four birdies from holes 8 through 15 put the 2007 Nationwide Tour player in ideal position, but bogeys on 16 and 18 left him two shots shy of the lead.
Sanchez is a former N.C. State player who makes his home in Pinehurst.
Frank Adams III, of Laurinburg, was at even-par 216 and won $2,875. Andrew Suggs, of Fayetteville, shot 221. Courtney Brisson, of Wallace, was at 223.
Tour Players Golf Group president Ron Charron was elated at the success of the record-setting tournament.
"It has been a longtime goal of ours to sponsor an event of this magnitude with a field of this quality," he said. "This has been a great week."
Pro-Am Club : A field of 42 teams representing Carolinas Golf Association member clubs from throughout the Carolinas will compete in the 32nd Carolinas Pro-Amateur Club Championship at Rock Hill (S.C.) Country Club Monday.
Attempting to defend the title they won last year are professional Adam McLaughlin and amateur partner Richard Hogan, of Alamance Country Club in Burlington. A year ago at Rock Barn Golf & Country Club in Conover, McLaughlin and Hogan combined to shoot a seven-under-par 65 that won the title by two strokes over five runner-up teams.
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