By: Tony Edwards
Photo Credit: Paula FitzPatrick
Our annual opportunity to see young professional golfers exercise their talents on our Sound Golf Links came last week. It was the ninth time for us and the first for EMPact Strategic Partners and their CEO, Kevin Paasch. The GPro Tour and its principal officer, Gary Haugh, were very grateful to EMPact
for stepping up to become title sponsor.
We are grateful to Bruce Biggs and the Biggs organization for their many years as title sponsor since this event’s inception in 2014. We are also most grateful for the longstanding sponsorship support from Swimme & Son, Farm Bureau, and Sentara Medical Center, allowing us to stage various pre-tournament events. And we must not forget the contributions from so many local businesses and our local Rotary Club during this entertaining pro golf week.
Unfortunately, Mother Nature decided to provide March weather in late May! Windy and cold conditions closed in on the players as they started the three-round tournament on Thursday. It followed two Pro-Ams, a Pro-Am Shootout (won by our very own Course Superintendent Randy Tetterton and his pro
partner), a Long Drive Contest and a Million Dollar Shot Challenge earlier in the week.
But poor conditions did not phase the players, as a very impressive 7- under was posted by the leader on Day 1. On an even colder and at least as windy Day 2, Charles Huntzinger consolidated his command at the top of the leaderboard with a two-round total of 11-under par, closely followed by Seth Gandy
at 10-under and a small group chasing this pair. Annoying and steady rain on the final day saw the leading pair battling down the 18th all tied at 14-under
par, requiring a second trip down the 18th to finally decide a winner in a play-off. Charles Hunsinger parred this 19th hole of the day to beat Seth Gandy and take Champion’s honors. A trio of players at 11-under shared third place.
The clubhouse veranda party provided a nucleus of residents and visitors who applauded the first EMPact Championship winner and his nearest rivals. At the awards ceremony, Lee Duncan thanked all the sponsors, the Clubhouse, Grounds and Pro Shop staff and, of course, all the many resident volunteers for making the week an outstanding experience for players and spectators alike.
This stop on the GPro Tour circuit has won top billing for all that AP provides. It will again be the venue of choice for the season-ending Tour Championship in early December. We can look forward to 2024 and our tenth pro golf tournament and all the fun that it brings to AP each year.