$5,000 Southern Open

Arlington, TX (Division)

June 7-8, 1969

Rick Smith Defends Southern Open Title

Rick Smith, a nineteen-year-old sophomore at Purdue University, has successfully defended his title as Southern Open Champion by defeating a field of 73 pros in two grueling days of competition at the Arlington, TX, Putt-Putt Golf Course.

Smith, a native of Indianapolis, IN, trailed Bob Williamson of Jacksonville, FL, after the first day's competition. Williamson has, this season, won the Beaumont Open and the Baton Rouge Open.

Smith has been ranked as the leading money winner in the PPA in both 1966 and 1968. In 1968, Smith was honored as "Putter of the Year".

The 144 holes of medal play competition were played on Ken Smith's new 54-hole course in Arlington, TX, located at 1701 East Division.

The defending champion was trailed in the competition by John White of Raleigh, NC. White displays a unique putting style by using a modified croquet style. In addition, his hollow-head putter produces a "ping" whenever it makes contact with the ball.

White chased Rick Smith into a tie at the end of 144 holes with a 53-under-par score of 235. In an 18-hole playoff, Smith posted a 10-under-par 26 for his 6-stroke victory over White.

Third and Fourth place prize money was divided between Bob Williamson of Jacksonville, FL, and Gil Caito of Indianapolis. Caito moved steadily into the top finishers in the final rounds by posting eighteen-hole scores of 24 and 25. Herman Strickland of Macon, GA, won fifth place. The popular Vance Randall of Chattanooga, TN, and John Connor of Greenville, SC, tied for sixth and seventh place prize money. Houston's Brice Bergesen and Cleveland's Bob Poltis tied for the eighth and ninth positions.

Albuquerque's amateur, Mike Baldoza, was defeated by Robert Smith of Dallas in an 18-hole playoff for the position of amateur champion of the Southern Open.

On Friday, prior to the $5,000 Southern Open, a $1,000 Pro-Am event was held on the same course. John Connor and his amateur partner, Nicky Athens of Arlington, TX, won this event by defeating Doyle Smith and his amateur partner, Gerald Knott, both from Dallas. The team of Connor and Athens faced stiff competition throughout this match play event.

Sande Drewes, Miss Texas of 1969 and a former Western Region Putting Queen, presented the prize money and trophies to the winners. David Lloyd of the PPA home office staff officiated the tournament.

Place Player City 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Total Cash
1Rick SmithIndianapolis, IN2829273330322729235$ 1,000.00
2John WhiteRaleigh, NC2729353129273324235$ 750.00
3Bob WilliamsonJacksonville, FL3326272635312929236$ 500.00
Gil CaitoIndianapolis, IN3430293231252431236$ 500.00
5Herman StricklandMacon, GA3028293129302931237$ 400.00
6Vance RandallChattanooga, TN2828343228313028239$ 312.50
John ConnorGreenville, SC3433292626303031239$ 312.50
8Brice BergesenHouston, TX2832312730283331240$ 237.50
Bob PoltisCleveland, OH2931292929322932240$ 237.50
10Dale ClemDayton, OH2831303232313129244$ 187.50
David MatthewsShreveport, LA3131332627342933244$ 187.50
12Don LewisAlbuquerque, NM3032253133293431245$ 125.00
Bob LipscombFt. Worth, TX3230302932312833245$ 125.00
14Lee WeldyTulsa, OK3030293030353131246$ 62.50
Tom BelcherBaton Rouge, LA3132352630322931246$ 62.50
Place Player City 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Total Cash
1Robert SmithDallas, TX2835303232312928245
2Mike BaldozaFt. Worth, TX3030323030343029245
3Gerald KnottDallas, TX3330312931313528248
4Roy BatesHouston, TX3632342929313127249
5Mark DrullLawrence, KS3231313230332931249

Article, scores and photos taken from Putt-Putt World Magazine, Volume 11, Number 4 (July 1969)