Snead Flight (20+ handicap)
Subodh Dhiman, of Atlanta, Ga., overcame a slow start, and then hung on for a three-stroke victory over Terry Russell. The first hole was really tough for me, Dhiman said. After such a bad start, I knew I had to relax. It ended up helping me on the back nine. Dhiman, originally from India and now an IBM technician, has been on a roll of late. Leading up to the National Championships, he won the Atlanta tours final two local events, and then captured the Southeast Regional Championship at Hilton Head, S.C. He credited his recent success to a healthy dose of practice. Lately, Ive been working on my game for two to three hours per day, he said.
Sarazen Flight (12-15.9)
Jeff Garland, of Ocean Springs, Miss., outlasted playing partner Jeff Zemencsik for a one-stroke victory. Two down with three to play, Garland rallied to a tie through 17 holes. When Zemencsik found trouble on 18, Garland took advantage. In addition to his impressive finish, Garland was also proud of his first round. Shooting 75 the first day made my tournament, Garland said. I have to admit, when I did that, I was nervous the rest of the week. Its a lot more enjoyable to not be in contention, because Im able to relax and enjoy myself. Its worth it though, when youre able to win. Garland entered this summers Regional Championship needing to finish the highest among non-automatic qualifiers, in order to move on to Nationals. He ended up winning his flight outright.
Jones Flight (16.0-19.9)
James Berg, of Palatine, Ill., survived a three-way sudden death playoff with Douglas Morgan and Michael Miranda to capture the championship. I was surprised to be in the playoff at all, Berg confessed. I shot my highest round of the week today. The three men halved the first playoff hole with pars. After watching his fellow competitors hit their tee shots into the hazard on the next hole, Berg played it safe with a 4-iron. He played his approach shot safely as well, and Morgan and Miranda couldnt recover.
Hogan Flight (8-11.9)
Andrew Wilson, of Lake Villa, Ill., made a roaring comeback to nip playing partner Cole Phillips by one shot to capture the championship. With birdies on 16 and 17, Wilson took the lead, and he didnt look back. The 4-iron I hit into 17 was the best shot I hit all day, he said. It was nice to come through like that, because I knew it was close. Wilson, a freshman at College of Lake County near Chicago, hopes to play professionally one day. The collegiate season is over, but Ive got to keep playing in order to get better. This is nice for my confidence, he said.
Palmer Flight (4.0-7.9)
Troy Boswell, of Reynoldsburg, Ohio, capitalized on a steady putter to save an otherwise shaky round to win the championship. I had no feel with my mid- and long-irons, he said. It caused me to really feel the pressure out there. I just kept making pars, and made it home. Boswell, who works in the golf retail industry, has been a member of the Golf Channel Amateur Tour since 1995. Its always my goal to make it here each year. My attitude is the same: Just enjoy the golf. John Ridnour finished in second place, three shots back.
Championship Flight (<3.9)
Clay Fullick, of Stillwater, Okla., played consistently all week, carding scores of 72-74-70-74. His four-shot victory was the largest of any flight in this years National Championships. I was a little shaky today, but made a couple of birdies and then just went into par mode, he said. The second hole was an eye-opener for Fullick, an accomplished amateur player. I actually made a good bogey on 2, which I thought was good damage control. It helped me the rest of the way. Having played in two U.S. Amateurs and two British Amateurs, Fullick credited his experience in these types of situations to his success. He also credited his friends back home in Stillwater who always do a good job of making me feel good about my game.