Kevin Lacey of Cincinnati was down at the Kingsport Putt-Putt course a few times over the past three weeks and it paid off, as he won the Tournament Players Championship on Sunday with a final eight-round score of 213, which was a scoring average of 26.6 per round.
In the last tournament, Lacey took a heartbreaking defeat in an 18-hole playoff to Greg Ward at the Eastern Open in White Lake, North Carolina.
“It feels good to come here and get the win,” Lacey said. “You never know what to expect and you have to play your best out here. There are so many great players and there’s a bunch of guys who are capable of winning.”
Lacey was tied with playing partner Mike Flavin going into the final round, and the heat was on during a steamy June afternoon.
Lacey ended up shooting a final round 27, included making aces on holes nine through 14, which was enough to distance himself from Flavin, who ended up in third place with a score of 216 and a final-round 31.
“Hole No. 12 was the toughest hole all tournament,” Lacey said. “If you make an ace, you’re very fortunate and you basically pick up a stroke on everyone else. If you miss it, it’s a tough deuce putt and some of the best players took big numbers out on that hole this weekend. I was lucky enough to make it six out of eight times and get deuces the other two.”
Lacey takes home $1,600 for his efforts and the rest of the $15,000 cash purse pays out to 39 other players in the tournament.
Sid Davis of Kingsport finished as the runner-up with a sizzling final day on his home course, laying down a 25 in the sixth round and a 24 in the seventh round to get within three shots of the lead group.
Davis shot a final-round 28 and had an overall score of 215, two shots off the lead and one shot ahead of third.
“It’s a great honor to have this tournament this year, and I thought it was a bit more pressure to play on my home course,” Davis said. “You go out there and you know the shots a little bit better than the others, but I just came up a little short today. Kevin is a great player and he deserves this win.”
This was the first national Professional Putters Association tournament that Kingsport has hosted, and course owners Dan and Marcia Estes said it proved to be a resounding success.
“It’s a great feeling to have this tournament be here this weekend. It was something every course owner dreams of,” Dan Estes said. “It’s great that we received nothing but compliments about this tournament. We’ve got such a great group of local putters and there were about 40 guys out there this weekend that were capable of winning.
“We’d love to have these guys back here for the tournament again in the future. I hope we can get the tournament again. There’s not a better group of players.”