HIGH POINT — For the first time in the tournament’s nearly 50 years, the winner of the Bud Kivett Memorial came from outside the championship flight.
Jeremy Ray, coming out of the first flight, fired the only under-par round of the day to overtake the leaders and win the city’s golf championship Sunday at Oak Hollow Golf Course.
It was the first time that happened in the tournament’s 45 years.
“This is the first time it’s ever happened, but that’s the way it should be,” said Steve High, the city’s director of golf. “The lowest score wins the tournament, and I think everybody understood that.
“I did call Jeremy just a moment ago, congratulated him on a good win and told him to come by and pick up his hardware whenever he’s ready.”
Buck Hall won the Senior Division championship with a 73, totaling a 143 for the championship and winning by six shots.
“I always thank the weather for cooperating,” High said of the tournament overall. “So, it made for an easy event this year. We’re very pleased with the field we had this year. I think everyone seemed to enjoy it, so I’m looking forward to next year.”
Teeing off a half-hour before the leaders, Ray started quickly, getting to 3-under with birdies on Nos. 3, 5 and 6, before taking a bogey at No. 8 and making the turn in 2-under 34.
He birdied the long par-5 10th, bogeyed 11 and birdied the undulating par-5 15th before parring the final three holes and posting a 1-under 35 on the back side and a 139 total after shooting a 70 on Saturday at Blair Park.
Ray edged Ryan Hodges, who also finished in the top 10 overall, by three shots atop the first flight and left the golf course before the final championship-flight groups came in.
But none of the leaders made much happen in the breezy conditions. Overnight leaders Jake Clodfelter, a former Wheatmore standout, and Curtis Brotherton, a former Ledford and High Point University standout, dropped back.
Clodfelter, after a birdie at No. 2, made the turn in 1-over 37 and finished with a 2-over 74, while Brotherton shot a 77. Only a couple of the 12 golfers who shot in the 60s Saturday made a move at an under-par finish.
Bo Bolick, a former Southwest Guilford standout who was one of three golfers one shot back of the leaders, got to 2-under after a birdie on the par-3 seventh and again with a birdie on the par-3 12th.
But he dropped back to even par after bogeys on Nos. 8 and 9 and, after much of the penultimate group found tree trouble off the tee, faltered at the par-5 15th to drop back to 1-under for the day.
He had a great look at birdie on No. 18, hitting his approach to about 10 feet. But it took him three putts to get down and he settled for a bogey, an even-par round of 72 and a 140 total to finish as runner-up.
“I started out pretty solid,” Bolick said. “I had a little adversity in the beginning, and honestly I just kind of struggled with the putter all day. I can count about five shots left out there for sure. It’s unfortunate — but I love this tournament, played in it last year. So, I’m super excited and looking forward to playing again next year.
“If I could’ve had the putter even be decent today, then I feel like I probably could’ve gotten it done. But I really didn’t make anything outside of 5 feet all day.”
Gary Pugh, who was also one shot back on the overnight leaders, stayed in contention as well — fighting to get back to even-par at the turn and again with birdies at Nos. 14 and 16. He finished with pars at Nos. 17 and 18 for an even-par 72 and a 140 total as well.
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