$10,000 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
Louisville, KY (Dixie Hwy)
July 6-7, 1968
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 $287.50.
|1||Bob Marcellino||Rockville, MD||26||30||27||27||28||28||29||30||225||$ 2,000.00|
|2||Richard Buchan||Raleigh, NC||26||25||28||29||28||31||30||30||227||$ 1,300.00|
|3||Bob Poltis||Cleveland, OH||27||27||30||24||29||29||32||30||228||$ 1,000.00|
|4||Web DiGenova||Midvale, OH||31||29||33||28||28||28||28||24||229||$ 900.00|
|5||John Connor||Greenville, SC||27||32||27||27||26||29||31||31||230||$ 750.00|
|Jeff Jeskin||New Orleans, LA||30||31||28||26||29||29||29||28||230||$ 750.00|
|7||Neil Connor||Greenville, SC||30||29||29||29||27||30||31||26||231||$ 458.33|
|Fred Scott||Bristol, VA||28||29||30||25||29||30||33||27||231||$ 458.33|
|Charlie Connor Jr||Asheville, NC||26||28||31||27||30||29||31||29||231||$ 458.33|
|10||Franklin Stern||Capetown, SA||28||28||34||29||27||30||29||28||233||$ 287.50|
|Jimmy Harritos||Atlanta, GA||31||26||32||30||30||29||26||29||233||$ 287.50|
|12||Buddy Taylor||Baltimore, MD||29||29||32||29||28||29||33||25||234||$ 237.50|
|Herman Strickland||Macon, GA||27||28||29||25||32||30||33||30||234||$ 237.50|
|14||Brice Bergesen||Houston, TX||28||29||31||29||31||29||32||27||236||$ 162.50|
|Steve Gilbert||Statesville, NC||29||29||34||28||27||29||32||28||236||$ 162.50|
|Gary Love||Euclid, OH||32||29||31||30||31||28||27||28||236||$ 162.50|
|Bob Macomber||Dayton, OH||30||33||31||28||28||30||29||27||236||$ 162.50|
|18||Don Posey||Greenville, SC||30||27||27||33||30||34||30||26||237||$ 100.00|
|19||Charlie Hayes||Winston-Salem, NC||29||32||32||25||28||28||30||34||238||$ 67.50|
|John Roessner||Indianapolis, IN||31||27||30||32||27||30||31||30||238||$ 67.50|
|DNC||Armin Ganz||Knoxville, TN|
|Daryl Freeman||Bristol, VA|
|Gil Caito||Indianapolis, IN|
|Ed Hongosh||Maple Heights, OH|
|Cliff Moose||Gastonia, NC|
|Ray Rayfield||Birmingham, AL|
|Roger Moore||Atlanta, GA|
|Jim Norton||Cleveland, OH|
|Nick Long||Burlington, IA|
|Gene McDonald||Savannah, GA|
|Vance Randall||Chattanooga, TN|
|Jim Grinstead||Euclid, OH|
|Walt Asbury||Columbus, OH|
|Bill Ruskauff||Aurora, CO|
|Earl Fritts||Savannah, GA|
|Bob Lipscomb||Fort Worth, TX|
|Bill Baus||Euclid, OH|
|Norman Bolyard||Port Arthur, TX|
|Dick Florin||Atlanta, GA|
|Charlie Bennett||Grand Prairie, TX|
|Rick Smith||Indianapolis, IN|
|Dale Clem||Dayton, OH|
|1||Randy DeLoach||Atlanta, GA||32||27||33||30||33||25||32||27||239|
|2||David Shirey||Shreveport, LA||34||29||29||28||28||29||31||32||240|
|3||Ben Rakusin||Cleveland, OH||29||27||33||35||30||29||31||29||243|
|4||Roger Hart||Kettering, OH||34||30||32||33||27||28||31||29||244|
|Larry Simpson||Burlington, NC||29||31||30||32||30||29||34||29||244|
|DNC||Don Anderson||Knoxville, TN|
|Robert Griffin||Fort Worth, TX|
|George Hooks||Raleigh, NC|
|Steve Ladd||Bristol, VA|
|Doug Cortellini||Indianapolis, IN|
|Dave Taylor||Baltimore, MD|
|Betty Strickland||Atlanta, GA|
Article, scores and photos taken from Putt-Putt World Magazine, Volume 10, Number 5 (August 1968)