Rob Manor of Garland, Texas, is proof that a new qualifying procedure in effect this year worked well at the 90th annual Southern Amateur Championship on the beautiful, but tough, Dogwood Course at the Country Club of North Carolina in Pinehurst.
In the past, on-site qualifying was conducted early in the championship week to complete the 168-player field after the exempt players were selected, including the top 40 from the previous year. But this year for the first time, regional qualifying was conducted throughout the 14-state Southern Golf Association area to fill half the field after 85 exemptions were awarded.
Manor, 20, a junior at the University of Texas at El Paso, qualified with a 70 on June 19 at the Trophy Club in Dallas, then came to the Country Club of North Carolina and won the title in a sudden death playoff. Manor sank a 15 foot birdie putt on the second extra hole after he finished 72 holes tied with third round leader Joey Maxon of Dover, Delaware at five under par 283 on the 6,933 yard Dogwood course.
"I'm just ecstatic," Manor said. "This should open a lot of doors for me, such as receiving invitations to some amateur tournaments in the future and not being obliged to qualify for others. I've been playing well all summer," he added, "including fourth in the Southwest Amateur at 10 under par and fifth in the West Texas Amateur at five under, but not well enough to get an exemption here from the Southern Golf Association." He missed the cut in the 1995 Southern Amateur at Holston Hills in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Manor's four under par 68 equaled the lowest score of the final round on Saturday as he played bogey-free golf with three birdies on the front nine, one on the back nine, and a fifth in the playoff to win the tournament.
Maxon, also 20 and a junior at Clemson University, still led through 10 holes, though his margin was down to a stroke as he bogied while Manor was making his final birdie in regulation play. Maxon fell behind with bogies at the 14th and 15th holes, then birdied the par 5 18th from six feet to force the playoff. He shot 72 the final round with three birdies and three bogies. "It's not like I gave it away," Maxon said later. "Rob played well, shot 68, which is a solid round, and won it."
Tim Jackson of Germantown, Tennessee, a member of the 1995 U.S. Walker Cup team, was third with a 284, followed by Macon Moye of Charlotte, North Carolina at 285. Jackson had two birdies and made a four foot putt for an eagle at the par 5 fifth hole. Only four players were under par over four rounds.
Grant Masson of Norman, Oklahoma shot 67 to lead after the first round. Paul Simson of Raleigh, North Carolina, the runner-up last year, and teenager Matt Kuchar of Lake Mary, Florida, shared the halfway lead at 140. Maxon shot the low round of the tournament, a 65, to lead Simson by three after 54 holes.
As Champion, Manor received a one-year honorary membership from East Lake Country Club in Decatur, Georgia, home course of the legendary Bobby Jones and site of the 2002 Southern Amateur.
|Top 40 scores and ties:|
|Rob Manor, Garland, TX||71-74-70-68--283|
|Joey Maxon, Clemson, SC||74-72-65-72--283|
|Tim Jackson, Germantown, TN||71-74-71-68--284|
|Macon Moye, Charlotte, NC||70-74-72-69--285|
|Brendan Jones, Australia||70-74-74-70--288|
|Paul Simson, Raleigh, NC||74-66-74-74--288|
|Michael Goodes, Reidsville, NC||73-73-73-70--289|
|Michael Henderson, Raleigh, NC||77-71-71-70--289|
|Rick Cloninger, Orlando, FL||73-74-72-70--289|
|Jimmy Flippen, Danville, VA||76-75-69-70--290|
|Matthew Russell, Atlanta, GA||74-72-74-70--290|
|Jay Hobby, Auburn, AL||73-72-74-71--290|
|Lewis Chitengwa, Charlottesville, VA||72-72-73-73--290|
|Richard Barbles, Houston, TX||69-75-74-73--291|
|Charles Warren, Columbia, SC||75-67-76-73--291|
|Justin Roof, Conway, SC||72-76-70-73--291|
|Frank Ford, Charleston, SC||72-69-75-75--291|
|Doug Labelle, Mt. Pleasant, MI||75-74-72-71--292|
|Terry Ezell, Rock Hill, SC||76-69-75-72--292|
|Tom McKnight, Galax, VA||72-71-74-75--292|
|Matthew Kuchar, Lake Mary, FL||69-71-76-76--292|
|Mark Northey, Roswell, GA||75-71-71-75--292|
|Brian Newton, Atlanta, GA||75-74-71-73--293|
|Herb Lohr, Lexington, NC||75-77-73-68--293|
|Ben Ferguson, Australia||72-78-73-71--294|
|Mark Gauley, Greensboro, NC||75-73-74-72--294|
|Roland Thatcher, Auburn, AL||75-73-72-74--294|
|Brent Wolf, Ft. Worth, TX||74-74-71-75--294|
|Vinny Graffeo, Boca Raton, FL||73-71-78-73--295|
|Christopher James, Edmond, OK||75-74-73-73--295|
|Stephen Woodard, Charlotte, NC||73-75-77-70--295|
|Grant Masson, Norman, OK||67-74-78-76--295|
|Rennie Law, Tampa, FL||72-78-73-73--296|
|Steve Jones, Oak Ridge, NC||74-74-73-75--296|
|Bill White, Charlotte, NC||73-79-69-75--296|
|Kelly Miller, Southern Pines, NC||76-70-72-78--296|
|Landry Mahan, Richardson, TX||72-76-76-73--297|
|Reid Edstrom, Norcross, GA||73-78-73-73--297|
|Troy Ferris, Norfolk, VA||74-73-79-71--297|
|Ryan Dillon, Winter Garden, FL||71-79-72-76--298|
|Bill Anderson, Covington, LA||72-78-75-73--298|
|A traditional part of the Southern Amateur, and of great import to the players, is the Team Championship, in which the four best 36 hole scores from each state represent that state as a team. The team with the lowest cumulative score earns the Bob Jones Team Trophy for each player. In the1996 Championship, South Carolina was the State Team Champion,represented by the following players:|
|Frank Ford, Charleston||141||Terry Ezell, Rock Hill||145|
|Charles Warren, Columbia||142||Joey Maxon, Clemson||146|