Originally created 08/09/99

Texan stands tall at Pine Ridge



EDGEFIELD, S.C. -- The Baylor Bear made a final roar down the stretch.

Brandon Sanders chipped in on No. 15 and carded a final-round 72 for a 3-under 141 total to come back and win the 19th annual Perry Watson Memorial at Pine Ridge Country Club by two shots over Jeff Knox and Richard Maddox on Sunday.

Knox shot a final-round 71, while Maddox had the round of the day with a 68. Randy Holley finished fourth with a 73 for a 144 total, while Mitch Marchman (71) and Rick Swanson (73) tied for fifth at 145.

"It was a great tournament with a lot of competition," Sanders said. "I heard somewhere that there will always be butterflies, but you just have to get 'em to fly in formation. You have to get used to it."

Sanders is spending his summer at Woodside Plantation in Aiken, working with Jimmy Tidwell. As a child, Sanders took golf lessons from Tidwell in Texas.

"At 10, he took an interest in me," Sanders, a 20-year-old Baylor University junior. "He worked with me a lot. He knows my swing so well he can help me over the phone."

Tidwell eventually moved from Texas to Florida to Aiken, but Sanders always kept in contact with him. After playing every tournament for Baylor last season, Sanders decided to reunite with Tidwell.

Sanders opened the day with a three-shot lead over Knox, but that lead soon evaporated. Knox fired a 34 on the front, while Sanders double bogeyed the par-5 No. 9 to go from one shot up to two shots down.

Sanders lipped out birdie putts on Nos. 10 and 11, while Knox bogeyed No. 11. Both players made birdies on the par-5 14th hole, setting up Sanders' dramatics on the next hole.

After his approach rested within 12 paces of the hole, the collegian from San Angelo, Texas, pulled the pin out and chipped in with a sand wedge to swing the momentum back in his favor.

"I had adrenalin running through me at that point," Sanders said. "I guess it reversed the situation and put the pressure back on his shoulders."

With the pair at 3-under for the tournament with three holes remaining, Knox ran into trouble. Knox three-putted from 30 feet for bogey on No. 16 while Sanders parred. On No. 17, Knox hit his drive into the woods, chipped out and bogeyed. Sanders parred the final two holes for the victory.

"I don't know much about Brandon. But I told him to get his tail back to Texas," Knox joked.

Sanders, who finished as low amateur in the recent Texas state tournament, returns to Texas later this month. He will contend with his Baylor teammates in team qualifying Aug. 25.

"There was a lot of pressure," Sanders said. "This helps my mental game."

The 36-year-old Knox, playing in his first Regions Cup tournament, was using the competition to prepare for the U.S. Amateur. The Augusta native birdied the first hole of a four-way playoff on the Atlanta Athletic Club's Highland Course last Monday to qualify for the USGA event at Pebble Beach Golf Links and Spyglass Hill Golf Course from August 16-22.

In the seniors division, James McFerrin fired a final round 71 for a 144 total to defeat J.W. Barker and Gerald Maxfield by two shots.

Chris Gay can be reached at (706) 868-1222 or cag112@hotmail.com