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Probst Escapes Murphy’s Law, Wins UGA Senior Match Title in Playoff; Simkins Completes ‘
Bill Probst won the UGA Senior Match Play Championship over Patrick Murphy Friday at Valley View, but only by the hair of his chinny-chin-chin. It was one of the most bizarre championship matches imaginable.
Probst birdied 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11 (five in a row) to take a five-up lead after the 11th hole. Murphy ended that skein with a birdie of his own on 12 to bring it back to four, and then in an unbelieveable turnaround, especially in light of just making five straight birdies, beginning on the 14th hole Probst went bogey, bogey, double bogey, bogey and the match was all square going onto 18.
All this time, going through the heads of both golfers, was the Ghost of Tournaments Past. Two years ago Murphy came from five shots back to edge Probst for the UGA Senior Amateur title at the Homestead, and visions of sugar plums were dancing in his head once again. The question: does Murphy have my number had to be swirling in Probst’s mind.
Murphy who had had the honor for five straight holes, hit his drive into the normally treacherous right rough, but against all odds his ball found an opening with a reasonable lie. Probst, avoiding the right side, hit his drive far left, had his next shot knocked down by a tree, left it short, chunked a chip (very unusual for a guy with his magical short game), and bogeyed the hole for his sixth straight parless hole. However, Murphy, despite his lucky break on his lie in the rough, couldn’t seal the deal either and he bogeyed.
On the first playoff hole Probst righted his ship and found a par, something he hadn’t seen for nearly two hours and seven holes. It’s the longest time and most holes he’s played without a par since he was in junior high school. Alas, Murphy parred also.
Second playoff hole, familiar territory, good feelings, fond memories, Probst birdied it earlier in the round, and he did it again and got the Law of Murphy of his back. Murphy bogeyed and Probst awoke from his two hour nightmare as UGA Senior Match Play champion for the second time.
In the Super Senior Division (65 and over) Al Simkins completed ‘his personal grand slam’ by adding the Super Senior Match Play title to his other three UGA titles. He has now won the UGA stroke play and match play titles in both the Senior and Super Senior Divisions.
Simkins dispatched David Fischer in the championship match, with a 5 and 4. He won five holes in a row from four through eight to take a 5-up lead and then clinched the match with a par on the 14th hole. It was a birdie filled match with Simkins winning four holes with birdies, and Fischer winning three holes with birdies. Between the two of them they birdied half the holes they played. They only halved three holes during the match.
Simkins was the medalist and coasted through his first two matches, but he had a tough semifinal match against Heber Jacobsen. In that match Simkins was down two at the turn but birdied ten to cut it to one. Jacobsen bogeyed 13 and 14 to give Simkins a one-up lead and then Simkins clinched it with a match winning birdie on 17, 2 and 1.
Bret Hancock won the Net Division with a 5 and 4 triumph over Paul Auxier. Hancock won each of his earlier matches by a 4 and 3 margin and so the only time he got to play the last three holes of Valley View was in the qualifying round.