Kris Maffet of Elizabethtown, Kentucky, did his
part to help the Country Club of Birmingham celebrate its 100th
birthday with a stunning victory in the 92nd annual Southern
Amateur Golf Championship.
Maffet slam-dunked a 30 foot, 7 iron chip shot from in front of the green for birdie 3 at the second playoff hole to surprise second and third round leader Edward Loar of Rockwall, Texas, after they tied at three under par 281. They halved the first extra hole with par fours.
Finishing two groups ahead of the leaders beginning the day, Maffet pulled himself into contention with four birdies on the last nine holes for 68. Loar, meanwhile, closed with four bogies and a birdie in a six hole stretch on the inward nine and posted 73.
Both Maffet and Loar bettered the 72 hole record of 283 recorded in two previous Southerns played on the 6,810 yard, par 71 West Course since the format changed from match play in 1964. Hubert Green established the mark in 1966 and Bill Brown matched it in 1991. Nick Cassini of Athens, Georgia, was the only other player to break par, finishing third at the old record of 283. The record of 270, set by Justin Leonard in 1993 at The Farm Golf Club in Rocky Face, Georgia, remains intact.
This was the ninth time the Country Club of Birmingham, celebrating its centennial anniversary, has hosted the Southern Amateur.
"This is the biggest tournament I've ever won," said Maffet, 22, who's a few classes short of graduating from the University of Louisville with degrees in business marketing and sports administration. His biggest victory to datewas as the Conference USA medalist in the spring of 1998. "I've been putting well for about six months, so here I concentrated on hitting fairways and greens," Maffet added. "I played solid the whole week, made only one double bogey, and that was in the second round, and never hit a ball in the water or out of bounds. I had 12-13 birdies during the tournament." Maffet credited his putting to a change to the long putter a year ago. "I had the yips so bad I had to try something," he explained.
Meanwhile, Loar, the 11th ranked amateur in the U.S. by Golfweek Magazine, was bitterly disappointed after leading for most of the last 54 holes. "I just lost concentration on the last nine," he said. "It was stupid and sickening. I made bogies on several holes that should have been easy pars." A third team All-American at Oklahoma State University, Loar tied for fifth in the 1997 Southern at Mira Vista in Fort Worth after sharing the second round lead.
|The top 40 and ties:|
|Kris Maffet, Elizabethtown, Ky.||69-72-72-68--281|
|Edward Loar, Rockwall, Texas||68-70-70-73--281|
|Nick Cassini, Athens, Ga.||68-73-70-72--283|
|Paul Simson, Raleigh, N.C.||74-71-71-68--284|
|Korky Kemp, Greensboro, N.C.||71-71-69-73--284|
|Roland Thatcher, the Woodlands, Texas||70-72-71-72--285|
|Richard Barbles, Houston, Texas||72-70-70-73--285|
|Edward Stedman, Sydney, Australia||78-67-74-67--286|
|Mark Northey, Roswell, Ga.||74-71-68-73--286|
|Jeremy Langley, Lexington, Ky.||69-75-70-73--287|
|Sam Farlow, Birmingham, Ala.||73-69-75-71--288|
|Richard Jeffers, Mobile, Ala.||76-69-70-73--288|
|Haymes Snedeker, Nashville, Tenn.||71-72-75-71--289|
|Matt Borchert, Orlando, Fla.||77-67-72-73--289|
|Grady Brame, Hammond, La.||72-71-76-71--290|
|Matthew Saglio, Clearwater, Fla.||72-73-74-71--290|
|Danny Green, Jackson, Tenn.||72-76-70-72--290|
|Eric Lee, Nashville, Tenn.||71-71-76-73--291|
|Greg Sonnier, Lafayette, La.||70-74-73-74--291|
|Freeman Fite, Anniston, Ala.||66-75-75-75--291|
|David Miller, Daphne, Ala.||74-69-77-72--292|
|Billy Varn, Jacksonville, Fla.||72-71-78-72--293|
|Gary Hardin, Fort Worth, Texas||70-79-71-73--293|
|Justin Bolli, Roswell, Ga.||75-72-74-73--294|
|George Cestia, New Iberia, La.||76-74-72-72--294|
|Matt Cooper, Germantown, Tenn.||72-74-74-74--294|
|Knox Milligan, Manakin-Sabot, Va.||72-73-73-76--294|
|Wes Furnish, Lexington, Ky.||72-77-73-72--294|
|Whitten Mears, Fair Bluff, N.C.||71-75-75-74--295|
|David Tennant, Birmingham, Ala.||76-70-75-74--295|
|Max Sellers, Baton Rouge, La.||72-75-74-74--295|
|Nathan Rogers, Gulfport, Miss.||76-74-69-76--295|
|Colin Wright, Phoenix, Ariz.||76-73-75-71--295|
|Bob Kearney, Houston, Texas||71-73-73-78--295|
|Bill Anderson, Covington, La.||74-76-72-73--295|
|Brian Wright, Mobile, Ala.||69-76-76-75--296|
|Sean McGenity, Macon, Ga.||72-74-75-75--296|
|Bo Lee, Columbus, Miss.||75-74-74-73--296|
|Jimmy Wittenberg, Memphis, Tenn.||73-74-76-73--296|
|Tim Jackson, Germantown, Tenn.||74-70-78-74--296|
|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 the 1998 Championship, Texas, for the second year in a row, was the State Team Champion, represented by the following players:|
|Edward Loar, Rockwall||138||Richard Barbles, Houston||142|
|Roland Thatcher, The Woodlands||142||Bob Kearney, Houston||144|