NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (May 12, 2007)-- With eight players representing 13 years worth of past champions, in addition to the other 90 club champions, the Tournament of Champions could have been most anyone’s win. But it was Chris Clemens of Beech Grove prevailed after the contest came down to the last putt on the last hole.
Beginning the second round there were 15 of the 98 competitors all within three-shots of the leaders from round one, and it became apparent early on this was a tough competition when all in the final foursome birdied the first hole. Clemens took the lead on the 8th hole with birdie, to go to 4-under.
Not able to capitalize on his huge drives; Clemens could not sink another birdie putt until 16 to go to 5-under. A three-putt bogey on 17 dropped him back to 4-under and opened the door for Randy Nichols of Connersville.
Carding birdies on 15, 16 and 18, after several missed putts on the middle holes, Nichols' 20-footer on 18 for birdie put the pressure on Clemens 5-foot par putt.
“I always make those,” stated Clemens at the end of the round. “Those are the putts I always make.”
After some noise distractions, Clemens sank the putt and narrowly avoided a playoff against Nichols.
When congratulated on his play, Nichols, in his usual unassuming way simply stated, “I played pretty good at the end.” He began the day at 3-under, and ended the day at 3-under, after a rough ride in the middle dropping back to even par on No. 12, Nichols carded two birdies on the front and three on the back nine, with a double-bogey on #5 ultimately costing him the title.
Finishing in third place was Ted Smith of Wilkinson with 140 total. Beginning at even par, Smith shot 69 to finish at two better than par. Smith had his tournament total to 3-under at one time, but bogeys on holes 10 and 11 canceled out two of the four birdies he made in the final round.
“This is the best I have ever played in this event,"he said. "And I have been playing in it for about 15 years.”
Smith attributed his success to perfect playing conditions paired with the perfect condition of Fox Prairie Golf Course.
Joe Mahurin, playing out of Prairie View GC, toggled between 2-under and 3-under for most of the day, and had a good look at the title until bogeys on holes 16 and 18 took him out of contention. He finished tied for fourth with Mike Salmon of Pottawattomie GC with one better than par for the tournament.
Clemens now joins an elite list of the twice being Champion of Champions, with a life exemption to the tournament.
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