06/09/08 — Sutton repeats at WCMA

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Sutton repeats at WCMA

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on June 9, 2008 2:42 PM


News-Argus Sports Writer

In golf, experience is everything.

Years of patrolling the local fairways paid dividends for Lionel Sutton, who captured a second consecutive Wayne County Mens Amateur title on Sunday.

Sutton fired a final round 68 at Lane Tree Golf Club to capture the crown.

"I got to the first tee and I said 'Lord just let me be ten years younger for one more round'," Sutton said after he claimed his trophy. "Playing with so many young talented players, I was just fortunate to get into a position to win."

Playing in the second to last group of the afternoon, Sutton shot himself into red numbers on the front nine. Second day leader Jonathan Greene hovered around even par and Mount Olive standout Ryan Campbell chased Sutton from the final group.

"These young guys can hit it 40 yards passed me on every hole if they want to," Sutton joked. "I hit a good drive on nine, looked back, and Ryan (Campbell) was probably 30 yards farther."

With a robust crowd waiting at the Lane Tree clubhouse, the final two groups made their way to the last green.

Sutton reached the green in regulation and two-putted for par, meaning Greene along with Dane Jones and Jonathan Burke were effectively eliminated.

The only player with a chance to knock the leader off the pedestal, Campbell belted a drive into the right side of the fairway and set up a make-or-break second shot.

As the entire field and several spectators looked on, Campbell stuck the short iron approximately eight feet right of the flag. The collegian ignited the crowd with a playful shout from his follow-through.

Trailing by one stroke, Campbell eyed the putt to extend the championship to a 55th hole. A good read, a smooth stroke, and a sudden stop, marked the end of the tournment. The ball halted mere inches short, ensuring Sutton a second WCMA victory.

Sutton notched a three-day total of 212, Campbell 213, and Greene, Jones and Burke tied for third place at 214.

In the senior division John Zambelli carded a final round 69 to win his third title. Don Garris Jr. kept pace with the eventual champ, firing a 69 of his own to finish second. Defending champion Bill Brewer finished in third six shots off the pace.

Joe McLamb captured the super-senior title with a three-day total of 225. John Newsome narrowly missed his fourth consecutive WCMA victory, falling in a sudden-death playoff. Charlie Waters wound up third, one stroke back.

"This is the tenth year that we have been doing this and it's gotten better every year," tournament coordinator Parker King said. "This year it was as competitive as ever, and a lot of guys played well.

"We have to thank all the sponsors for all that they have done to make this a success. Andy's Burgers, Shakes, and Fires, Buddy's Jewelry, Bent Design, Griffin Garage Doors, Allstate and Seegars Fence Company have been great to us."

The 2009 amateur will rotate away from Lane Tree and be contested at Goldsboro Golf Club, Walnut Creek Country Club and Southern Wayne Country Club.

Sutton plans to defend his title.

"If I can get up, I'll be back," Sutton said. "All of the courses bring their own challenges and I am sure it will be a lot of fun."