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Georgia (GSGA) Senior Championship
02 Sep 2005
see also: Georgia Senior Championship, The Legends at Chateau Elan

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ATHENS, GA (September 2, 2005) -- Spencer Sappington of Alpharetta shot two-under 214 and captured a record-setting, third-consecutive Georgia Senior Championship, edging the only other three-time champion, Bill Ploeger of Columbus, by a stroke. Ploeger, who won the event in 1995, 1997 and 1999, had an opportunity to send the championship into a playoff, but his 13-foot birdie putt on 18 slid just an inch right of the hole, giving Sappington the victory.

Another past champion, Dick Van Leuvan of Roswell, placed third with a final-round 71 and score of even-par 216 for the tournament. Sherold Skinner of Fayetteville, tied for second after 36 holes, finished fourth at 217. Alpharetta's Don Marsh and Atlanta's Jerry Greenbaum tied for fifth with a score of 218. Tied for seventh at 219 were Bill Leonard of Kennesaw and Steven Hoffman of Savannah. Jim Schlueter of Canton and Walter Burt III of Albany rounded out the top 10 at four-over 220.

Second-round leader John Holle of LaGrange wound up in a tie for 11th after a final-round 82.

"I'm not sure if I have the right words to express what I'm feeling," said an emotional Sappington when asked about the three-peat performance. "It's a real honor, with so many great names on this trophy. To be the only one with three in a row, I'm very grateful."

Sappington shot the lowest score for the second day in a row, turning in a final-round 70 (which was matched by Alpharetta's Ken Benson, who tied for 13th). After a big par save on the fourth, where he made a 40-footer after putting his approach shot in the water, Sappington made the turn at two-under with birdies on holes six and seven.

Ploeger, one group back and one stroke ahead of Sappington going into the final round, had an up-and-down front nine, as he also birdied six and seven but bogeyed eight and nine to make the turn at one-under. Both Sappington and Ploeger then birdied 13 to move to three and two-under, respectively. Skinner, playing with Sappington, also carded birdie on 13 to stay in contention at one-under. The left-hander initially appeared out of the chase, shooting +3 on the front nine, but birdied 10, 11 and 13 to jump right back into the thick of things down the stretch.

Ploeger lost a stroke with a bogey on 14 to drop to one-under, while Sappington held steady with pars. Skinner, meanwhile, moved into second place with a birdie on the par-3, 185-yard 16th. Sappington then held on to his lead with a great par save on 17. His approach shot landed in the rough, just inches short of the green. His well-placed, 100-foot chip shot got to within two feet of the hole, which was located at the back of the green.

"I started off striking the ball really well, and that got me through the first 15 holes," Sappington said. "After that, my chipping saved me. I was really chipping well in the end."

Trailing by a stroke going into the final hole, Skinner ran into trouble on his approach shot, which was lost left of the green. He took a drop and settled for a triple-bogey seven and a final-round 74. Sappington, meanwhile, also missed the green, landing on an adjacent mound. He chipped to within nine feet, but missed the par putt by a foot and settled for bogey, his only one of the day.

That opened the door for Ploeger, who needed a birdie on 18 to send it into a playoff. Down in the rough to the left of the fairway, he hit an impressive approach over a group of trees to stick it to 13 feet and a very makeable putt. His shot appeared right on target, but broke ever-so-slightly right as it approached the hole and stopped just inches from the cup. He settled for an even 72 for the day, one-under for the tournament.

Sappington, who claimed he "couldn't look" as Ploeger attempted the birdie putt, knew he had some stiff competition in the group behind him.

"I knew those bandits behind me," he laughed. "I've played a lot of golf with him (Ploeger) and know how he can play." Sappington and Ploeger teamed up in 2002 to win the Georgia Senior Four-Ball Championship and finished as runners-up in last year's event.

Doublegate's par-72 layout played to approximately 6,647 yards. The field of 144 was cut to the low 70 and ties after the second round. A total of 71 players advanced, with the cut line falling at 13-over 157.

Entries were open to male amateur golfers who were at least 55 years old as of August 31, 2005, members of a GSGA Member Club and residents of Georgia. The field of 144 was determined by the lowest USGA Handicap Indexes.

Final Results Par 72 Rank Player Name Rd. 1 Rd. 2 Rd. 3 Total To Par 1 Spencer Sappington, Alpharetta 76 68 70 214 -2 2 Bill Ploeger, Columbus 72 71 72 215 -1 3 Dick Van Leuvan, Roswell 72 73 71 216 Even 4 Sherold Skinner, Fayetteville 73 70 74 217 1 T5 Don Marsh, Alpharetta 70 75 73 218 2 T5 Jerry Greenbaum, Atlanta 71 72 75 218 2 T7 Bill Leonard, Kennesaw 72 74 73 219 3 T7 Steven Hoffman, Savannah 71 75 73 219 3 T9 Jim Schlueter, Canton 73 74 73 220 4 T9 Walter Burt III, Albany 74 74 72 220 4 T11 John Holle, LaGrange 72 69 82 223 7 T11 Karl Simon, Lawrenceville 76 70 77 223 7 T13 Bill Evans, Columbus 73 76 75 224 8 T13 Ken Benson, Alpharetta 74 80 70 224 8 T13 Larry Clark, Kennesaw 78 70 76 224 8 T13 Taylor Adams, St. Simons Island 73 75 76 224 8 T17 Al Tyre, Fayetteville 73 77 75 225 9 T17 Danny Daniels, Kingsland 69 80 76 225 9 T17 Jackson Moore, Marietta 73 76 76 225 9 T17 Richard Tatum, Atlanta 76 74 75 225 9 T21 Amos Jones, Atlanta 72 76 78 226 10 T21 Chuck Kuhn, Atlanta 75 77 74 226 10 T21 Harvey Gammon, Duluth 78 75 73 226 10 T21 Jim Planche, Lawrenceville 76 75 75 226 10 T25 Ben Benford, Albany 75 73 79 227 11 T25 Bill Myers, Marietta 75 74 78 227 11 T25 Billy Cumbie Sr., Columbus 76 76 75 227 11 T25 Dick Donegan, Kennesaw 73 76 78 227 11 T25 Martin Ball, Rome 77 74 76 227 11 T25 Victor Jarvis, Savannah 76 77 74 227 11 T31 Christopher Demarco, Acworth 78 77 73 228 12 T31 Dan Rhoads, Albany 73 81 74 228 12 T31 Dave Buffolino, Suwanee 76 74 78 228 12 T31 Eddie Wiggins, Warner Robins 75 74 79 228 12 T31 John Darnall, Duluth 76 78 74 228 12 T31 Mike Jackson Sr., Martinez 77 76 75 228 12 T31 Mike Townsend, Dalton 76 75 77 228 12 T31 Phil Pavoni, Macon 73 76 79 228 12 T31 Ray Welch, Albany 77 73 78 228 12 T40 Edsel Davis, Macon 75 76 78 229 13 T40 John Felker, Atlanta 74 74 81 229 13 T42 Frank Costanzo, Savannah 76 77 77 230 14 T42 Jules Victor III, Savannah 76 81 73 230 14 T42 Ron Waeghe, Greensboro 77 71 82 230 14 T42 Scott Carter, Acworth 78 75 77 230 14 T42 Tom Toombs, Perry 75 76 79 230 14 T47 Bruce Wood, Duluth 72 81 78 231 15 T47 Dick Martin, Alpharetta 80 76 75 231 15 T47 Frank Aliffi, Savannah 77 76 78 231 15 T47 Ken Stewart, Savannah 76 75 80 231 15 T47 Scott Northey, Roswell 77 76 78 231 15 T52 Curtis Wagner, Peachtree City 76 80 76 232 16 T52 Jim Kamis, Marietta 75 76 81 232 16 T52 Steve Owensby, Camilla 77 77 78 232 16 55 Gene Cohen, Suwanee 78 75 80 233 17 T56 Bill Hedrick, Albany 79 76 79 234 18 T56 John Murin Jr., Dacula 78 79 77 234 18 T56 Matt O'Brien, Decatur 80 77 77 234 18 T59 Berney Armstrong, Valdosta 81 76 78 235 19 T59 Jack Dalrymple, Roswell 78 76 81 235 19 T59 Jeff Sikora, Albany 76 80 79 235 19 T59 Ron Eulenfeld, St Simons Island 77 77 81 235 19 T59 Tom Hall, Albany 78 75 82 235 19 T64 Earl Johnson, Lawrenceville 82 74 80 236 20 T64 Murray Calhoun III, Columbus 76 81 79 236 20 T64 Robert Bertrand, Alpharetta 75 77 84 236 20 T67 Chris Glover III, Albany 78 74 85 237 21 T67 Lanny Bailey, Dalton 77 80 80 237 21 T67 Ron Savastano, Roswell 80 75 82 237 21 70 Joe Pearson, Fort Valley 81 75 84 240 24 71 Rock Hutcheson, Hampton 73 82 WD

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