$20,000 Southern Open

Fayetteville, NC

July 24-26, 1964

Ron Nixon Cops Southern Open Title

Hundreds of spectators witnessed the Southern Open lead change hands a dozen times over the three-day, $20,000 event. When the last ball was putted, Ron Nixon of Columbus, GA, found he was holding the lead, and as a result, pocketed $3,000 and the 1964 Southern Open title. Nixon, finishing his 216 holes with a 366, 66-under par, had to wait for the final threesome, and challenging for the lead, was John Connor of Greenville, SC. John started his final 18 holes 60-under par. He needed to fire only a 30 to tie or a 29 to win. The lightening fast greens proved to be a challenge on this final round. The determined Connor, one of three PPA brothers, fired a 32 and had to settle for second place, two strokes off the lead. His efforts were worth $2,200. Also starting the final round, tied for the lead was brother Neil Connor, the all-time leading money winner of the PPA. Neil started his final rouind with a 60-under par and ended with the same thing, having fired an even-par 36 for his last 18 holes. Neil's 372 put him in fifth place with $1,000 to his credit. Challenging all the way for the lead was Carl Strickland of Macon, GA, with a 63-under-par 369 for thired place, followed by former national champion John Spotts of Indianapolis, who fired a 62-under-par 370 in fourth place.

Newly crowned National Champ Bob Williamson, winner of the $30,000 National Championship in Columbus, OH, July 3-5, after making a respectable bid for the lead at the end of his second day, fell by the way-side on this third day and had to settle for eleventh place with a 55-under-par 377.

Many attributed the changing of the lead so often to the changing of the weather, which also was often. During the week prior to the first tee off, constant rain hindered the more than 100 pros in their practice, although many of the competitors were considered a definite threat due to their fine showing on a damp course. Unfortunately, on the first day of the tournament, the weather changed causing the greens to be lightening fast, and in turn, causing many of the would-be challengers to falter. That evening, a heavy rainfall proved to be the cause of greens and scores changing once again. Many of the first day leaders found themselves well back in the line-up at the end of two days... or 144 holes.

On the final day's rounds "ole man weather", shining brightly, caused the greens to revert back to their lightening fast attitude and as a result, many of the new leaders found the going too rough and lost considerable ground.

Getting a taste of the lead at one time or another during the weather-crazy, three-day event were Sam Schafer, Augusta, GA; Neil Connor, Greenville, SC; Ted Brown, High Point, NC; John Spotts, Indianapolis, IN; Carl Strickland, Macon, GA; and eventually Ron Nixon, Columbus, GA.

Place Player City 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Total Cash
1Ron NixonColumbus, GA352733312928293233332630366$ 3,000.00
2John ConnorGreenville, SC323531322732262633342832368$ 2,200.00
3Carl StricklandMacon, GA333332322528303436272930369$ 1,500.00
4John SpottsIndianapolis, IN283729283433303428292832370$ 1,100.00
5Neil ConnorGreenville, SC303332312732273331303036372$ 1,000.00
6Ted BrownHigh Point, NC323232292829303333343130373$ 950.00
7Daryl FreemanBristol, VA342831323233303031283035374$ 890.00
8Roy CollinsworthMacon, GA302930323036283133343230375$ 800.00
Pat McMastersGreenville, NC383328302834273332322832375$ 800.00
10Ken MillerBirmingham, AL333130322930293329313237376$ 710.00
11Jim GlassDayton, OH244133377$ 560.00
Wilbur HildebrandGreensboro, NC248129377$ 560.00
Fred ScottBristol, VA248129377$ 560.00
Bob WilliamsonJacksonville, FL247130377$ 560.00
15Lehman KeyLake Charles, LA248131379$ 410.00
16Don PoseyWinston-Salem, NC249131380$ 390.00
17Tommy BarnettFayetteville, NC249132381$ 360.00
Herman StricklandMacon, GA248133381$ 360.00
19Lewis BogueTulsa, OK249133382$ 320.00
20Vance RandallAsheville, NC249134383$ 285.00
Sam SchaferAugusta, GA254129383$ 285.00
22Melvin SappAugusta, GA251133384$ 245.00
Chuck SchaferAugusta, GA249135384$ 245.00
24Charles GatewoodMississippi City, MS250135385$ 215.00
Frank KellyNew Orleans, LA249136385$ 215.00
26Jim BryanAtlanta, GA247139386$ 190.00
Charlie HayesWinston-Salem, NC257129386$ 190.00
Ralph SappAugusta, GA257129386$ 190.00
29Bernis KrusmarkTulsa, OK254133387$ 170.00
30George BoahnWashington, DC251137388$ 160.00
31Bob KeelerSpring Lake, NC259130389$ 145.00
Pat YoumansSavannah, GA259130389$ 145.00
33Clarence KurtzWashington, DC259131390$ 130.00
34LeRoy CummiskyTulsa, OK255136391$ 80.00
Bill TaylorBaltimore, MD262129391$ 80.00
36Gene VonWaldnerSavannah, GA392
37Irvin HalesGoldsboro, NC393
Sam HendricksonFayetteville, NC393
Tracy MooreAugusta, GA393
40Bob BowerRoanoke, VA394
Rodney DuckettAsheville, NC394
Dennis LewallenAthens, GA394
Lee WeldySavannah, GA394
44Dan AlexanderMobile, AL395
45Len MarloIndianapolis, IN397
Ray RayfieldBirmingham, AL397
47LeRoy CooperEast Point, GA399
48John CrowellWashington, DC400
Woodson GullickGlen Burnie, MD400
Bill PetersEast Point, GA400
Ike QuintonMorristown, TN400
52Virgil Bryan SrForest Park, GA401
Lockland BryantJacksonville, FL401
Earl FrittsSavannah, GA401
Jim MastinAsheville, NC401
Cliff MooseGastonia, NC401
Pete ReedAtlanta, GA401
58Charlie Connor SrGreenville, SC403
Ken EdgeFayetteville, NC403
Harold HardesterOrlando, FL403
61Ray BurkeCincinnati, OH405
Paul GarrisonIndianapolis, IN405
63Joe CoxKernersville, NC406
Toby ScherbTampa, FL406
65Bob ClearyDurham, NC408
66Harold ElliottGreensboro, NC409
Jimmy HarritosAtlanta, GA409
Larry SiebertN Wilkesboro, NC409
69Ken BoyBristol, VA410
Bill LawsonKnoxville, TN410
Eddie MeyersSavannah, GA410
Art TarvinColumbus, GA410
73Jack BrooksMemphis, TN411
Tom MyersSavannah, GA411
Buddy TaylorBaltimore, MD411
76Warren GrayIndianapolis, IN412
77Harry WilliamsRoseboro, NC413
78DeWayne MitchellColumbia, TN414
79Condy RobersonSavannah, GA417
Dick SasnettHuntsville, AL417
81Charles HeissBaltimore, MD418
82George KimmerCharleston, SC419
Ron SlocumbColumbus, GA419
84Bob PotterLong Island, NY420
85Glen GarvinPensacola, FL421
86Art BallRaleigh, NC422
87Tom CunninghamBaltimore, MD426
88Lamar BrownAtlanta, GA427
89Jim TaylorRaeford, NC428
90Carlos DonahoeAugusta, GA434
Howell SmithAtlanta, GA434
Remainder of field cut after 2nd day

In the amateur division, Bill Stowe of Gastonia, NC jumped to the lead at the end of the first day's round at 13-under par with a 131. However, at the end of the second day's rounds, he lost his lead to Steve Gilbert of Statesville, NC. Steve finished with a two-day total of 259, 29-under par. Stowe finished with a 265, six strokes off the pace. In third place was Phil Zorn, of East Point, GA and Phil Tatum of Tulsa, OK, each with a 21-under-par 267. During the third day's round the competition became stiff and one of the most exciting amateur matches ever witnessed took place over the 72-hole route. Phil Zorn was unable to maintain his fine putting and dropped out of the picture. At the same time, a nip-and-tuck match was taking place between Stowe and Gilbert. While the galleries for these two players were wondering which of the two would win, Tatum, putting almost unnoticed, was making it a three-way deul. When the final putt dropped, Tatum finished with a 36-under-par 396, good for first place, while Stowe was one stroke off the pace with a 397 and Gilbert still one more stroke back with a 398. This drooling finish proved once again that the "play for glory and not for money" boys are amateurs only in name.

Place Player City 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Total Cash
1Phil TatumTulsa, OK333633343534293334303431396
2Bill StoweGastonia, NC373127363138293632333433397
3Steve GilbertStatesville, NC398
4Bill Kirby JrFayetteville, NC408
5Warren LanningAtlanta, GA415
6Virgil Bryan JrAtlanta, GA417
7Jim LewisTulsa, OK418
Mike RagsdaleAtlanta, GA418
9Larry HolmesFayetteville, NC428
10Ron BogueJoplin, MO429
11Sammy BorginAsheville, NC430
12Ray BaggarlyMacon, GA434
13Don GeigerTulsa, OK438
14Reid GoddardAtlanta, GA445
15Phil ZornEast Point, GA482
Remainder of field cut after 2nd day

Article and scores taken from PPA Newsletter, Volume 5, Number 2 (July 26, 1964)