Originally created 06/19/00

Winner credits father



SALUDA, S.C. -- There's a good reason why Jay Blackburn and his father, Jack, were among the last golfers to leave the Persimmon Hill Golf Club Sunday afternoon.

Neither wanted a memorable Father's Day, spent playing in the Persimmon Hill/North Augusta Exchange Club Classic, to end.

Jay romped to his second straight Regions Cup victory, winning by six shots, as his father followed him around on the final five holes once his round ended.

Jack Blackburn shot 72-76 -- 148 to tie for sixth place in the senior division.

"I'm dedicating this to the old man," Jay Blackburn said afterward. "He got me interested in golf when I was 8 and never pressured me to play."

Jack, 56, watched his oldest son, now 35, polish off a 2-under-par 70 to finish at 5-under-par 139. With a four-birdie, two-bogey trip, Jay Blackburn beat out fellow Augustans Greg Ablett (72 Sunday) and Richard Maddox (76) for his fourth career Regions Cup victory.

"It makes you feel proud of your son," Jack Blackburn said. "Not only the golf but the fact it's Father's Day and you're together. That's the big thing. It doesn't matter what he shoots or whatever. It's good that he played well, but being together on Father's Day means a lot."

"It sent chills up and down my spine when he came out to follow me. Me and dad have always been pretty close. It was another special day for me," said Jay Blackburn, who has a son of his own, 20-month-old Will.

"You only have one life to live, and he's getting up there in age," Jay Blackburn said of his dad. "You have to enjoy every minute. I'm glad I got to enjoy it with him in this kind of environment."

It's the third straight week a Blackburn has won a Regions Cup title. Jay won the Jones Creek Classic two weeks ago, and his father won the senior division of last week's Savannah Lakes Village Classic. Jay did not play in that event.

"Jokingly, we talked about him winning the regular title at Persimmon Hill and me winning the seniors here on Father's Day; that would be a good little trick," Jack Blackburn said. "I didn't hold up my end of the bargain."

That's because Augusta's Ed Payne was too tough in the senior division. Payne won his second senior title in three weeks, shooting 71-72 -- 143 to edge out newcomer Chuck Withers by one shot and increasing his lead in the race for senior player of the year honors with 106 points. Withers, who led Payne by two shots after an opening 69, closed with a 75.

After Withers made bogey on No. 17 and Payne made par after being in the two bunkers on the par-4 hole, they were tied going into the 18th hole. Payne made a routine par on the par-5 hole while Withers caught a bad lie in the rough on his third shot and took bogey.

"I'd never heard of Chuck before, but he's a very good player," Payne said. "I'm surprised to beat him."

Blackburn's victory moved him past 1999 player of the year Mitch Marchman in the Region Cup points standings. Blackburn picked up 75 points and now has 166 through four of the 10 Regions Cup events. Marchman, who tied for fourth after rounds of 71-75 -- 146, earned 30 points, giving him 155.

The Regions Cup circuit takes two weeks off, picking up again July 8-9 with the inaugural River Golf Club Classic.