There was no repeat performance for Chris Waters in the Sunbelt Nissan Golf Capital Invitational this year. That was a good thing.
The former Greenbrier golfer didn't have any problems holding a lead this time, beating Augusta State men's golf coach Josh Gregory by two shots Sunday at Mount Vintage Plantation.
Last year, when the tournament was held at Forest Hills Golf Course, Waters was tied for the lead after Round 1 but "fell apart" in the second round, he said, shooting 81.
He was in that same position going into the final round this year but shot his second consecutive even-par 72 to finish at 144 in the Regions Cup opener.
"I set my goal just not to play myself out of it the first day," Waters said. "I did that, then I said, 'I'm not going to play myself out of this in the final round.' "
Waters didn't, thanks to a steady round that featured three birdies.
"If this isn't the best I've played, it's close to it," said Waters, a 20-year-old junior at Georgia. "I'm just trying to eliminate mistakes. I may not make as many birdies, but I'm making fewer mistakes."
Waters was tied for the first-round lead with final-round playing partner Harold Bishop. The next-closest golfers shot 76.
"I had my eye on Harold, but I knew if I shot 72 someone out of that group (at 76) would have to shoot 68 to tie me," Waters said. "That would be a number with the way the greens and pins were."
Bishop shot 78 and tied for third with Randy Lamb (74).
Gregory came the closest to catching Waters, thanks to his 70, which included 3-under 33 on the back nine.
Waters said he was "pretty proud" to put together two good rounds at a golf course as difficult as Mount Vintage.
Senior division winner Lance Jones of North Augusta echoed that sentiment after he outlasted George Bullard and Glen Hurt in a sudden-death playoff.
It's the third Regions Cup victory for the 53-year-old Jones. Two of them have come in the senior division.
"As far as difficulty of the golf course, I'd rank this one the highest," Jones said of his victories, after he was matched at 146 by Bullard and Hurt. "With the firm greens, length and pin positions, this was a big challenge. Obviously, the first win was pretty cool."
Jones rallied with 69 to catch 54-year-old Bullard, the first-round leader who matched his opening 73 in the final round.
"To shoot 69 on Sunday means a lot to me," Jones said.
Hurt, 52, shot 75-71 and finished second for the fourth time in his short senior career. Two of his losses have come in playoffs.
In Sunday's playoff, which started on the original front nine, the players tied the first two holes with pars.
On the par-3 third, Jones rolled in a 15-foot uphill birdie putt for the win.
"All three of us seemed to be in a good rhythm and were hitting good shots," Jones said. "It looked like it was going to take a birdie to win."
Reach David Westin at (706) 724-0851 or email@example.com.
Sunbelt Nissan Golf Capital Invitational, Mount Vintage Plantation
May 3-4, 2008
7,150 yards, Par 72
Chris Waters 72-72-144
Josh Gregory 76-70-146
Randy Lamb 76-74-150
Harold Bishop 72-78-150
Jamie Felder 78-76-154
Mike Phelps 78-79-155
Benji Thompson 78-77-155
Jeff Pope 77-78-155
Wade McDonald 79-78-157
Yong Lee 80-77-157
158-Paul Arrington (80-78), Doug Weiss (80-78). 159-Todd Mercer (80-79), Steve Dye Jr. (81-78), Chad Blackston (81-78). 160-Willie Williams (79-81). 161-Ryan McCook (83-78). 162-William Anderton (80-82). 163-Young Kim (81-82), Jacob Tilton (82-81). 165-Frank Bureau (81-84), Wesley Brown (81-84), Charlie Baldwin (82-83), Todd Stewart (82-84). 171-Corey Huss (82-89).
159-Donovan Daniels (83-76). 166-Chris Longcrier (87-79), Jared Macky (87-79). 167-Vic Dye (86-81), Josh Chamineak (87-80). 168-Mark Ernyei (87-81). 169-Eric Ingel (90-79). Phil Nunnery (84-85), Dann Standard (87-82), Chet Dye (85-84). 170-Danny Perrine (83-87). Glen Hidden (87-83). 171-Rob Lee (87-84). 172-Matt Ferara (83-89), Tommy Meacham (88-84). 175-Brian Tutt (90-85). 177-Chris Butler (90-87), Will Meacham (91-86). 179-Amos Captain (90-89). 180-Keith Downs (90-90). 184-Will Fulcher (89-95). WD-Brad Foster (88), Allan Wingate (93).
6,400 yards, Par 72
x-won sudden-death playoff
146-x-Lance Jones (77-69), George Bullard (73-73), Glen Hurt (75-71). 148-Joe Fairey (74-74). 153-Scott Schwarz (80-73), Frank Perry (80-73), Rob Bissell (76-77). 154-Jerry Beard (80-75). 156-Mike Jackson (79-77). 157-Chuck Withers (77-80), David Mulherin (79-78), Richard Felder (78-79). 158-Roger Tant (80-78). 159-Lad Wright (80-79). 160-Bobby Gause (86-79), Kenny Larry (79-81), James Kile (78-82). 161-Mark Givens (81-80). Russell Gilliam (78-82), Robert Samuels (79-82). 162-Andrew Edmunds (80-82), Bob Rickman (81-81). 163-Billy Rangos (81-83). 164-Steve Dye (76-88), Phillip McLain (81-83). DQ-Michael Benham (80).
154-Greg Scurlock (82-72). 160-Bob Varn (81-79), Jack Demyan (84-76). 163-Paul King (85-78), Robert Abernathy (87-76). 164-Mike Kelly (84-80), P.O. Youmans (82-82), Marcus Lowe (84-80). 166-Fred Broome (83-83), Doug Faulkner (86-80). 167-Dave Barwick (84-83), Bud Zipf (87-80). 171-Willie Hawes (83-88), Chuck Baldwin (83-88), Tom Bishop (87-84). 172-Al Farlow (91-81). 173-Jerry Flanders (86-87). 174-Dave Franklin (90-84). 179-Randy Harod (91-88). 180-Olin Logan (88-92), Andrew Pride (85-95). 185-Nick Pilliam (98-87). 188-Mike Higdon (94-94). 194-Billy Fulcher (94-100). DNS-John Nikander, Wesley Ellis.
WHAT: City of Augusta Match Play Championship; second event of the Regions Cup amateur golf tournament series
WHERE: Augusta Municipal Golf Course
WHEN: May 16 (18-hole qualifying round) May 17-18 (matches)
DEFENDING CHAMPION: Willie Williams