Blackston, Rangos win at Pine Ridge

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EDGEFIELD, S.C. — Chad Blackston doesn’t dwell on his bad rounds. Billy Rangos somehow continues to overcome his balky putter.

That kind of mental toughness helped both men win Sunday at the Perry Watson Memorial, a Peak Amateur Series event at Pine Ridge Club.

Blackston, a 32-year-old North Augustan, held off 17-year-old Kenneth Kaltz, of Edge­field, to win the regular division by a shot.

Blackston, who played high school golf at North Augusta with PGA Tour winner Scott Brown, closed with 2-over-par 74. Kaltz, the son of Pine Ridge head pro Kurt Kaltz, opened with 78 but had a final-round 72, which included 4-under-par 32 on the front nine before fading on the back nine.

In the senior division, Rangos, a 56-year-old Aiken resident, also closed with 74 and rallied for a one-shot victory over Ernie Tim­mer­man, of Augusta.

Timmerman was the first round leader with 69 but closed with 78 after opening his round double bogey-bogey. Rangos opened with 72.

Blackston also rallied for his victory. He opened with 75 and was one behind Saluda’s Peyton Shore, who had 79 on Sunday to finish fourth.

Blackston was in a similar situation two weeks ago in the Woodside Classic, where he trailed Jeff Pope by two shots going into the final round.

Blackston, in his words, then “shot a million,” which added up to 87 shots on his scorecard.

“I just forget about it,” said Blackston, who had two nines in the final round at Woodside. “I forget about every shot. I try to hit it one shot at a time. I know everybody says that. I just forget about it, go to the next shot. Missing a putt on 14 isn’t going to help your drive on 15 if you start screaming and hollering.”

Blackston started playing in the Peak Amateur Series, then known as the Cadillac Cup, when he was in high school in the late 1990s but had never won.

“I’ve probably played in 20 or 30 of them,” said Blackston, who had two birdies and four bogeys Sunday. “It’s feels great to win one.”

In Sunday’s final round, Rangos had 16 pars and two bogeys. He attributed the lack of birdies to his putting, especially from close range.

Early on, he failed to convert birdie putts inside 4 feet on both Nos. 3 and 5.

“Throughout the round I missed several short putts,” Rangos said. “I could have had a sizeable lead going into the back nine, but it didn’t materialize. Ernie hung in there despite his tough start. I just maintained what I’d been doing and the putting didn’t hurt me too much.”

The putting problems have dogged Rangos all season, leading to a fourth-place finish and two sixth-place finishes. Still, with 75 Peak points for winning Sunday, he has moved into second place in the race for player of the year honors.

Glen Hurt, who finished third at Pine Ridge, has 147 and Rangos has 145 through four of 10 events.

The way he putted at Pine Ridge “is more typical than not of the way I’ve been playing,” Rangos said. “There is a question in my mind why I struggle so much on the greens. I don’t know. It’s a big unknown. When I practice I seem to do well but when I get out on the golf course it’s a different story.”


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