HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. –This year’s tournament marked the 29th anniversary of the Golfweek Amateur Tour. In all, nearly 800 players competed in the three-day event with members from each one of our 47 Local Tours represented.
In the Championship Flight, Joe Jaspers won an unprecedented seventh National Championship in a sudden-death playoff over Lance Lacombe. Jaspers opened the tournament on Friday at Robert Trent Jones with a three-under-par round of 69 and a two-shot lead over Chad Frank. The Robert Trent Jones course belonged to Elliott Johnson on Saturday when he fired a four-under-par round of 68 and took a one-shot lead over Jaspers heading into the final round. The stage was set for a shoot-out on Sunday and the flight leaders did not disappoint! Lance Lacombe started the day four shots back but made-up ground on the back nine with an eagle on 15 and birdie on 16 resulting in the low round of the weekend (a five-under-par score of 67). Jaspers hung tight and birdied the fifteenth to tie Lacombe at three-under-par. On seventeen (par 3), Jaspers hit the ball to ten feet and power-lipped it out for the lead. At the end of the day, Jaspers and Lacombe both finished the 54-hole tournament at three-under-par and landed in a sudden death playoff on hole 18. Jaspers hit a perfect shot to about 6 feet and then followed it by sinking the birdie putt to become the 2023 National Champion. It was the second year in a row that Lance Lacombe finished solo second.
Joe Jaspers, Charlotte, NC (69-74-70—213)
Lance Lacombe, Jacksonville, FL (75-71-67—213)
Corbin Holt, Alabama (73-72-70—215)
Elliott Johnson, Hilton Head/Savannah (74-68-74—216)
Chad Frank, Orlando (71-76-71—218)
In the A Flight, we had a back nine battle all day between Eric Whitworth and Wayne Fisher at Golden Bear GC in Indigo Run. The two dueled it out until Whitworth finally won by only one shot on the final hole. Whitworth fired a 75 while Fisher posted an even par (72) and lost by just one stroke. Whitworth now has the pleasure of being the 2023 A Flight National Champion..
Eric Whitworth, Charlotte, NC (71-75-75—221)
Wayne Fisher, Philadelphia Metro (71-79-72—222)
David Dodgen, Columbia, SC (77-79-76—232)
Dana Shoulders, Columbus, OH (81-81-71—233)
Eric Maland, Charleston, SC (81-78-74—233)
In the B Flight, Kevin Ingram did not let his second-day score of 90 stop him from coming on strong in Sunday’s final round! Ingram shot the low round at Hampton Hall (four-over-par round of 76) and finished two-strokes ahead of the field with a three-day total of 244. Ken Sloan finished second at 246 and Jason Vesser placed third with a 247. Once again, congratulations to Kevin Ingram for posting one of the biggest come-from-behind wins in Tour history to become our 2023 B Flight National Champion.
Kevin Ingram, Nashville, TN (78-90-76—244)
Ken Sloan, Cincinnati/Dayton, OH (85-80-81—246)
Jason Vesser, Mississippi (78-84-85—247)
Bob Santee, Upstate, SC (80-85-83—248)
Rich McClendon, Arkansas (86-77-85—248)
Justin Carroll, South, FL (81-82-85—248)
Tony Chon, Dallas-Fort Worth, TX (78-83-87—248)
Brian Harden, Tidewater, VA (77-84-87—248)
The C Flight saw Ryan Samples take home his first-ever National Championship with a three-day score of 260. Going into the final day, Samples was four shots behind the two-day leader, Thomas Purvis. Samples managed to pull away on the Atlantic Dunes course and secured the victory and the 2023 C Flight National Champion trophy.
Ryan Samples, Indiana-Western, KY (91-82-87—260)
Thomas Purvis, Dallas-Fort Worth, TX (86-83-93—262)
Colton Vaughn, Alabama (97-79-87—263)
Gary Parnell, Columbia, SC (92-89-83-264)
Kevin Briggs, Orlando, FL (86-84-94—264)
In D Flight, Michael Ray beat both Justin Cook and Robert Benavides by four shots to become the National Champion with a three-day score of 268. Sunday was just a three-horse race as both pushed hard to make up a few shots and close the gap. Ultimately, Cook and Benavides came up short and Ray took home the hardware and the title of 2023 D Flight National Champion.
Michael Ray, North Central, FL (88-90-90—268)
Justin Cook, Central North Carolina (98-87-87—272)
Robert Benavides, Cincinnati/Dayton, OH (90-91-91—272)
Marcus Knight, Indiana-Western, KY (98-88-89—275)
Gary Hedges, Cincinnati/Dayton, OH (91-93-91—275)
Cincinnati/Dayton defended their Team Cup status from 2022 with a three-day total of 2495 stokes. Charlotte, NC took second place with 2523 shots followed by the 2021 winner Hilton Head/Savannah at 2528. Columbus, OH finished fourth at 2545 followed by Orlando, FL with a three-day total of 2547.
Turning to the Edwin Watts 2 Man Team Challenge, be sure to congratulate the following teams for winning their flight with the three-day totals listed below:
Champ Flight: Corbin Holt (Alabama) and Lance Lacombe (Jacksonville, FL) 428
A Flight: Travis Wireman (Charlotte, NC) and Eric Whitworth (Charlotte, NC) 468
B Flight: Justin Carroll (South Florida) and Adam Rosenberger (South Florida) 502
C Flight: Colton Vaughn (Alabama) and Bubba Thrash (Alabama) 536
D Flight: David Schmidt (Augusta, GA) and Chris Oliver (Augusta, GA) 558
This season marked the eighteenth year Hilton Head Island hosted our National Championships. Our 1245 competitors (791 Golfweek Amateur Tour/434 Senior Amateur Tour) collectively played on nine courses: Country Club of Hilton Head, Oyster Reef GC, Bear Creek, Golden Bear, Robert Cupp at Palmetto Hall, Hampton Hall, Atlantic Dunes at Sea Pines and Robert Trent Jones and Arthur Hills at Palmetto Dunes.