Originally created 07/24/99

Golfers go the distance



Nearly five hours under the Augusta sun wasn't enough for Ryan Tyndall and Brad Eskierka on Friday.

Even though both were going to receive gold medals in the Georgia Games youth golf event's 13-15 age group for their 2-over-par 74s, Brad and Ryan chose to head back out for an optional sudden-death playoff at Augusta Municipal Golf Course.

After nearly hooking his tee shot out of bounds, Ryan won the playoff on the first hole with a par. Brad had the advantage on the par-5 hole after putting his second shot in a greenside bunker, but it took him four shots to hole out. He made bogey.

Because Ryan is from Georgia (Thomson) and Brad from South Carolina (Belvedere), they were both going to receive gold medals as the winner from their state no matter who won the playoff. Yet they decided to brave the heat again.

"I wanted to see which one of us would win, and I think he felt the same way,' Ryan said.

"You always want to be the overall champ -- you don't want to tie," Brad said.

That feeling wasn't shared by Brad Davis of Evans and Wells Smith of Johnston, S.C. After they tied for first place in the 16-18 age group with 74s, they decided to stay in the air conditioning at the course's new Red Douglas Memorial clubhouse.

The adult division of the Georgia Games begins today and concludes Sunday. There are 50 entrants.

One of the reasons Ryan hooked his tee shot into the trees on the first hole of the playoff was that he couldn't find his glove. He later discovered it in the clubhouse, where it had fallen out of his back pocket.

"My hand slipped on the shot, but I got a break," Ryan said of his tee shot.

Indeed, his ball bounced back into the middle of the fairway instead of out of bounds. Ryan made it to the fringe of the green in three shots and then nearly chipped in from there for birdie.

Brad, in the bunker in two shots, barely escaped the sand. The ball hung up on the bank in front of the bunker and almost rolled back in. He chipped to within 6 feet, then pushed the par putt after Ryan already had made his par.

The hottest topic at the course was the heat. Six golfers did not start, and six others withdrew during the round because of the temperature.

"It kind of affected you when you hit a bad shot," Brad said. "After a while you get hot and don't want to play anymore. Then after you make a birdie, it re-energizes you and you're ready to go."

Davis, the Georgia champion in the 16-18 age group, said he tried to pace himself and drink plenty of fluids.

"After about 12 holes, I was exhausted," Davis said. "Some of my strength was gone, but I tried to pull it together and finish strong."

This was the first tournament of note at the course nicknamed "the Patch" since a $1.7 million renovation was completed earlier this year.

"Overall, it was a lot better than the last time I played it (last December)," Brad Eskierka said.

"I wanted to see which one of us would win, and I think he felt the same way." -- Ryan Tyndall,winner of sudden-death playoff