Hunter Wins National Title


Golf Channel Amateur TourThe 2006 Golf Channel Amateur Tour National Championship provided drama and tight competition amongst the twelve flights, each generating a well-deserved National Champion.
Qualified Tour players gathered from all corners of the US in Palm Springs, CA to compete in a 72-hole, medal play event with a cut after the 54th hole.
Jeff Hunter
Jeff Hunter (R) receives his trophy at the 2006 National Championship.
The low gross and Nicklaus flight champion for 2006 was Southern California's Jeff Hunter, whose second round 64 at Tahquitz Creek Golf Resort proved to be the difference in the tournament. Hunter held on to a one shot lead going into the final 18 and managed a one under 287 total for 72 holes, three strokes ahead of fellow Southern Californian and 2004 national champion Gerry Simoni.
Third place in the Nicklaus flight went to Tony Brown of Cincinnati (OH) with a four day total of 297.
In probably the tightest competition of the tournament, the Palmer flight champion for 2006 was awarded to Atlanta's (GA) Brock Kaufman with a total of 306. Kaufman saved his best round for last, firing a solid 74 to overtake Kasey Harriss of Southern California by one stroke for the championship. One stroke behind Harriss was Sean Coy, also from Southern California.
The Hogan flight produced the most drama in the tournament. After the 72nd hole, Greg Smith of Southern California and Robert McMinimy of Dallas (TX) stood tied with 324 strokes apiece. The sudden death playoff hole was The Golf Club at Terra Lago's par four 16th hole. Smith's approach shot landed a mere 8 feet from the pin, while McMinimy caught the greenside bunker with his. Smith drained his birdie putt and bested McMinimy's par to win the hardware.
Third place in the flight went to Palm Springs resident Billy Hargus, who carded a four day total of 329.
Home field advantage? Maybe. Southern California produced it's third national champion when Jason Matteson (342) finished three strokes ahead of Atlanta's Robert Boozer for the Sarazen flight championship.
One stroke back from Boozer was Adam Brack of Tampa (FL) and Alan Blades of Sarasota (FL) who tied for third place with totals of 346.
The Jones flight was won by Hampton Roads' (VA) Michael Stausser who carded a total of 344, five strokes better than second place finisher Jerry Maes of Southern California. Third place in the flight was awarded to Bradley Bressler of Columbus (OH) with a 350 tournament total.
The Chicago White Sox may not have brought home another championship this year, but Mike Dyer of the Snead flight sure did. Dyer played solid all week and finished a whopping 8 strokes ahead of Derrick Rivers of Atlanta. Lynn Hall of Southern California ended up in third place.
Nicklaus Senior flight champion was awarded to Phoenix's Tony Petronis (305), who bested Charlie Hodges of Sarasota.
In Palmer Senior, Dallas' Terry Galbraith's total of 322 bettered Darrell Williams of Indianapolis (IN) by three strokes for the title. Don Luke of Tampa took third place.
Keith Salvatore of West Palm Beach (FL) took medalist honors in the Hogan Senior flight followed by David Givens of Phoenix and Robert Christian Jr. of Minneapolis (MN).
The title of Sarazen Senior flight champion went to Louisville's (KY) Orville Smith. Second and third place went to Elton Border of Atlanta and Sarasota's David Fields, respectively.
In another very tightly contested flight, Jones Senior was won by Michael Brown of Indianapolis who edged out Jim Dredge of Minneapolis by a lone stroke. One back from Dredge was Jacksonville's Mike Sena.
Snead Senior flight champion was awarded to Sarasota's Russ Yoder who was followed by Mike Pavlik of Phoenix.
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