March 28, 2004
Albany, Ga. - Scott Brown of Atlanta and Phillip Verlander of Decatur capped off a four-hole, five-stroke run with a 45-foot birdie putt on 18 to take the Georgia Four-Ball Tournament by one over Stewart Page and Craig Taylor of Albany.
Page and Taylor, who led by five-strokes after a second-round, eight-under 64, dropped their lead between 15 and 17 with two bogeys and a double before Brown's winning putt on 18.
Brown and Verlander, who played from the first flight, combined for a five-under 67 for a total of 11-under 203. Page and Taylor, also in the first flight, closed with a 73 on their home course of River Pointe Golf Club, which co-hosted the event with Stonebridge Golf and Country Club.
Hal Lamb and Brad Brown of Calhoun, who played from the second flight, finished tied for third overall at 207, with a closing 69. Also claiming third were championship-flight competitors Turner and Berney Armstrong of Valdosta and Dale Bone and Sherold Skinner of Fayetteville, with each team carding 68.
After matching their opponents' 33 on the front nine and making birdie on 11, Brown and Verlander had only cut the margin to four, before Page and Taylor's home course advantage began to fade. After bogeying 15, Page and Taylor each hit the hazard from the tee on the par-5 16th and took a double bogey. They followed with a "good bogey" at 17, where they found another hazard.
Brown and Verlander, who had several birdie opportunities including one at 16 where they were on in two, held steady with pars and avoided the playoff when Brown "made a bomb" on 18.
Ironically, Brown had made the same putt, a 45-footer up and over a ridge, during his practice round. "It was just blind luck, that's all that was," Brown said of his winning stroke. Page and Taylor were already laying three and made a short par putt for their second place finish.
Page and Taylor were hoping to become the second home team to win the event in as many years. Defending champions Tom Heyer and Dan Rhoads of Albany, who finished back in the pack at 220, are members of River Pointe and Stonebridge respectively. Brown and Verlander, both 34, have been playing together since their days in junior golf.
Although this was their first top finish in a GSGA event, they've had success in recent invitational four-ball events, including winning the 2002 Cuscowilla Invitational and finishing second in the same event in 2003, as well as in the Pebble Beach Invitational in 2003.
The championship through third flights were eligible for the overall honors. The field of 96 teams was divided into eight flights based on team handicap index. The field alternated between the two host clubs, with the top four flights playing their first and third rounds at River Pointe.
Other flight winners were third - Larry Fowler of Marietta and Wade Turner of Roberta (211), fourth - (tie) Phil Rouse of Albany and Dewayne Hale of Leesburg and Clint Carter of Atlanta and Jim Carter of Snellville (218), fifth - Joe Douglas of Newnan and Victor Echevarria of Jonesboro (209), sixth - Bob Dykes of Albany and Gary Dykes of Leesburg (216) and seventh - Ronnie Brown of Atlanta and Mike Landrum of Austell (227).
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