Louisville, KY (Dixie Hwy)

July 6-7, 1968

Bob Marcellino Bags 1968 National Championship Title

PPA's biggest race of the year attracted a field of 264 pros and amateurs from across the nation - and around the world. It was the largest field in recent years as 157 putting pros and 107 anxious amateurs clashed for the National Championship Crown and the National Amateur Crown respectively.

Entering the winner's circle to collect $2,000 of the $10,000 purse - and the official National Championship Trophy was 19-year-old Bob Marcellino of Rockville, MD.

The race for the crown produced a battle between many of the PPA's top touring pros. At the end of the first day's rounds, former National Champion Richard Buchan of Henderson, NC and top Cleveland pro Bob Poltis found themselves sharing the lead at 36 under par, 108. Pressing the two leaders for the top spot were Herman Strickland of Macon, GA with a 109, Bob Marcellino, Rockville, MD, with a 110, and close behind with a determination were the likes of Fred Scott of Bristol, TN and Charlie Connor, Jr. of Asheville, NC.

At the start of the second day, the pressure began to take its toll as many of the front runners began losing ground. The threesome of Poltis, Buchan, and Marcellino were able to maintain the torrid pace to make it a three-man show. However, by the end of the seventh round of the two day competition, Marcellino finally took a two stroke lead over Buchan while gaining three on Poltis to actually end the year's big event. In the final round no ground was gained or lost as the three front runners each fired 6 under par, 30's.

Marcellino came in under the wire with a 63 under par, 225, and the National Championship Crown. Buchan carded a 61 under par, 227, while Poltis registered a minus 60 for a 228. For finishing in the 1-2 slots, both Marcellino and Buchan earn the right to compete in the 1969 TV show, Parade of Champions.

Championship competition in the amateur division proved to be no surprise as such highly touted amateurs as Dave Shirley of Shreveport, LA, George Pihakis of Birmingham, AL, Randy DeLoach of Atlanta, GA, Ben Rakusin of Cleveland, OH and others displayed championship form to the galleries they attracted.

It was a seesaw battle for the entire eight rounds with the above mentioned names sharing the lead at one time or another. Although Shirey was able to hold the top spot at the end of the first 72 holes with 24 under par, 120, he was unable to stave off the rush of Atlanta's Randy DeLoach, and finished the 144 hole event one stroke off DeLoach's 48 under par, 240, finish.

The highlight of the day and possibly of the tournament was the magnificent shooting of young Bruce Garnett of Memphis, TN. Although he did not finish in the top 5, he set a sizzling pace and tied the all time PPA record of consecutive aces by equaling Jim Harritos' 11 in a row. Garnett proved that the "hot putter" was not an exclusive of the pro division.

In the $2,500 Pro-Am Match Play Tournament held Friday, July 5, it was truly a day for the unknowns. Although many of the top names such as Vance Randall, John Connor, Neil Connor, Bob Poltis, were knocking off challengers and advancing to new brackets, the team of Armin Ganz and Don Anderson of Knoxville, TN quietly stayed in stride. When it was all over, the Ganz and Anderson twosome found themselves winning 2-1 over the highly touted team of Brice Bergesen and his amateur partner Ron Giffen to capture the victory and $600.

The five champion competitors from the Republic of South Africa, Willa Stockhoff of Johannesburg, Sam Shear, Franklin and Hilton Stern, and Gerry Hampshire of Capetown made a gallant attempt to take the crown back to their home country. However, Franklin Stern was the only one able to finish in the money. He finished with a 55 under par, 233, and collected $287.50.

Place Player City 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Total Cash
1Bob MarcellinoRockville, MD2630272728282930225$ 2,000.00
2Richard BuchanRaleigh, NC2625282928313030227$ 1,300.00
3Bob PoltisCleveland, OH2727302429293230228$ 1,000.00
4Web DiGenovaMidvale, OH3129332828282824229$ 900.00
5John ConnorGreenville, SC2732272726293131230$ 750.00
Jeff JeskinNew Orleans, LA3031282629292928230$ 750.00
7Neil ConnorGreenville, SC3029292927303126231$ 458.33
Fred ScottBristol, VA2829302529303327231$ 458.33
Charlie Connor JrAsheville, NC2628312730293129231$ 458.33
10Franklin SternCapetown, SA2828342927302928233$ 287.50
Jimmy HarritosAtlanta, GA3126323030292629233$ 287.50
12Buddy TaylorBaltimore, MD2929322928293325234$ 237.50
Herman StricklandMacon, GA2728292532303330234$ 237.50
14Brice BergesenHouston, TX2829312931293227236$ 162.50
Steve GilbertStatesville, NC2929342827293228236$ 162.50
Gary LoveEuclid, OH3229313031282728236$ 162.50
Bob MacomberDayton, OH3033312828302927236$ 162.50
18Don PoseyGreenville, SC3027273330343026237$ 100.00
19Charlie HayesWinston-Salem, NC2932322528283034238$ 67.50
John RoessnerIndianapolis, IN3127303227303130238$ 67.50
DNCArmin GanzKnoxville, TN
Daryl FreemanBristol, VA
Gil CaitoIndianapolis, IN
Ed HongoshMaple Heights, OH
Cliff MooseGastonia, NC
Ray RayfieldBirmingham, AL
Roger MooreAtlanta, GA
Jim NortonCleveland, OH
Nick LongBurlington, IA
Gene McDonaldSavannah, GA
Vance RandallChattanooga, TN
Jim GrinsteadEuclid, OH
Walt AsburyColumbus, OH
Bill RuskauffAurora, CO
Earl FrittsSavannah, GA
Bob LipscombFort Worth, TX
Bill BausEuclid, OH
Norman BolyardPort Arthur, TX
Dick FlorinAtlanta, GA
Charlie BennettGrand Prairie, TX
Rick SmithIndianapolis, IN
Dale ClemDayton, OH
Place Player City 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Total Cash
1Randy DeLoachAtlanta, GA3227333033253227239
2David ShireyShreveport, LA3429292828293132240
3Ben RakusinCleveland, OH2927333530293129243
4Roger HartKettering, OH3430323327283129244
Larry SimpsonBurlington, NC2931303230293429244
DNCDon AndersonKnoxville, TN
Robert GriffinFort Worth, TX
George HooksRaleigh, NC
Steve LaddBristol, VA
Doug CortelliniIndianapolis, IN
Dave TaylorBaltimore, MD
Betty StricklandAtlanta, GA

Article, scores and photos taken from Putt-Putt World Magazine, Volume 10, Number 5 (August 1968)