Rayford/Matthews win Georgia Four Ball

PERRY, Ga. – Doug Rayford and David Matthews of Valdosta posted rounds of 66-66-67, finishing at 17-under 199 and leading wire-to-wire to win the 23rd annual Georgia Four-Ball Tournament. The tournament took place March 25-27 at Houston Lake Country Club in Perry and Southern Hills Golf Club in Hawkinsville.  The winning duo finished two strokes ahead of Lee Gerdes of Macon and Craig Wentworth of Thomasville, who posted a 15-under 201.

Matt Oxford of Rocky Face and Bart Walraven of Calhoun finished third overall at 204, with Scott Northey of Roswell and Mark Northey of Savannah fifth at 207.  David Maddox and Rick Dubois, both of McDonough, tied for fifth at 208 along with third-flight winners Wade Turner of Roberta and George McCanless of Forsyth.  John Lamberth of Warner Robins and Rhett Barbour of Byron also came out of the third flight to finish seventh overall at 7-under 209. First-flight winners Chad Branton of Cartersville and Steve Stewart of Adairsville finished eighth at 210.  John Miles of Fayetteville and Clay Gardner of Newnan, also first-flight competitors, posted 211 to finish ninth overall.  Two-time defending champions Jack Benson of Roswell and Pete Malcolm of Duluth came in 10th overall at 4-under 212.

Over the course of the tournament, Rayford and Matthews carded 19 birdies with just two bogeys.

The field of 96 two-man teams was divided into eight flights by handicap index.  The Championship through third flights, which were eligible for overall tournament honors, played all three rounds at Houston Lake Country Club.  The fourth through seventh flights competed at Southern Hills Golf Club.

In the second flight, Don Paige of Lawrenceville and Ed Cordell of Norcross tied for first at even-par 216 with Bryan Keaveny of Newnan and Mike Keaveny of Cumming. There was a three-way tie for top honors in the fourth flight at 7-under 209, including Don McGinnis of McDonough and Rusty Clanton of Griffin, Forsyth duo Todd Joseph and James Singletary, and Rob Bissell and Mike O’Rourke, both of Evans.  Other flight winners were fifth – Carl Wade of Kingsland and Mike Wooten of St. Mary’s (210); sixth – Mike Ingles of Woodbine and John Lewis of Kingsland (210); seventh – Jeff Stanford of Gray and Keli Smith of Macon (217).

Entries were open to two-man teams of male amateur golfers who belong to a GSGA member club, have combined USGA Handicap Indexes of 4.0 and above and a maximum differential of six strokes.  Of the 96 total teams, 82 entries were determined by lottery, three spots were reserved for each host club and one spot was reserved for each of the previous year’s flight winners.

Founded in 1916, the Georgia State Golf Association (GSGA) received its official charter on June 24, 1924.  Since that date, the GSGA has grown to one of the largest state amateur golf associations in the country, with over 350 member clubs and 85,000 individual members.  With a mission to promote and preserve amateur golf in the state of Georgia, GSGA offers a computerized handicapping service, course rating and measuring, and annually conducts a full schedule of statewide competitions for men and women of all age groups.  Other services include a summer-long junior sectional program, award-winning Golf Georgia magazine, membership recognition and rewards programs, management of the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame and a charitable foundation administering two college scholarship programs.

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