Spencer takes first Regions victory

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The odds of Andrew Spencer ever winning a Regions Bank Amateur Series event have never been very good: The former Aquinas golfer normally plays in one of the 10 events a year, choosing the Augusta City Amateur.

On the spur of the moment, he added the Goshen Golf Classic to his schedule, signing up Thursday. The result was Spencer's first Regions victory.

The 24-year-old used eagles on two par-5s (the sixth and 11th holes) to shoot 1-over-par 73 on Sunday and overtake Jason Black, the first-round leader.

"If you make two eagles in one day, that's pretty good," Black said. "That will make or break a round."

Black, a 25-year-old from Evans making his Regions debut, led Spencer by two shots after opening with 72. Black, who went to high school at Washington County, holed out a 25-yard pitch shot for par on the final hole Sunday to shoot 76.

Spencer three-putted No. 18 for bogey. He thought he'd beaten Black by a shot but wasn't positive until the numbers were added up on the scorecard.

"I thought if I chipped it in, I'd be in a playoff, but I came up one shot short," Black said.

"Everything was kind of a blur today," Spencer said. "I knew it was either a playoff or I beat him by one. He played standup golf all day. To tell you the truth, it was more about holding him off. Fortunately, I played well enough for that to happen."

Spencer's victory is a perfect tuneup for the Augusta City Amateur, the next event in the series, in three weeks. One of the former winners of that tournament is his uncle, John Lo Schiavo, who was an Augusta State golfer when he won the City Am in 1981.

"John got me started in golf when I was 5 or 6," Spencer said. "He really got me into it. I owe my golf career to him."

While there was a first-time winner in the regular division, a familiar face continued his dominance in the senior division.

Kenny Larry closed with 72, the low round of the day, to win his record-extending 17th time as a senior in the series. He has won four of the six Regions events this year.

The 55-year-old finished at 1-over 145 and beat Robert Samuels (74-73) by two shots.

Samuels has now finished as a runner-up 12 times since his last Regions win in 2007. He also was second to Larry last week at the City of Augusta Match Play Championship, which Larry won with a birdie on the first playoff hole.

Larry played with Mark Givens and first-round leader Mike Kelley (70-84) in the final pairing Sunday.

When they reached the 17th hole, Larry had a two-stroke lead on Givens. On the par-3, Givens had a 10-footer for birdie and Larry, who missed the green, had a 15-footer for par.

Givens missed his birdie and Larry made his par putt to maintain his two-shot lead.

"My putting down the stretch is better this year," Larry said.

Givens, who ended up making double bogey on No. 18 and shot 75, wasn't surprised that Larry rolled in his par putt on No. 17.

"Considering he had made a 20-footer for par on the last par-3, No. 14, I thought the chances were pretty good that he'd make it," Givens said. "He's a great player and a clutch putter."

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