Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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August 12, 2012

Great Brittain

Birdie binge leads to championship

BLUEFIELD, Va. — Entering yesterday’s final round in the 2012 Pocahontas Men’s Amateur Golf championship, Buck Brittain speculated, “If I make a few putts, you never know what might happen.”  Sunday, he started making putts and by Sunday afternoon he discovered what would happen—he fired a five-under par 65 and cruised to a seven-stroke victory in the 43rd Pocahontas at Fincastle Country Club.

Brittain, in the midst of his best year as an amateur golfer, birdied four holes in a five hole stretch on the front nine, overtaking second round leader Donnie Hankins in the process.  Holding a two-stroke advantage at the turn, Brittain finished his day’s work by counterbalancing a bogey on the 13th hole with birdies on 10 and 17.

Although it was the birdie binge that staked him to the lead, Brittain said the key putt in his round was a 10-foot par saver on the fourth hole.  “When I made that putt, I really started to heat up,” he continued.  “After I got the lead, I tried to play steady golf and avoid mental mistakes and things worked out.”  Brittain’s three day total of 207 was three under par, the only subpar 54-hole score in the event.

Furman University golfer Greg Carrier also solved Fincastle’s challenging greens late in the final round and birdied three straight holes to post a 67 and finish second, seven shots back.  Hankins, who held the tournament lead through the first two rounds, was in the hunt at the turn on Sunday, but saw his title chances evaporate during a five bogey stretch on the back nine.  “I hit a bad tee shot on 11 and the round started to get away from me,” he said.  “Still, it was great to be in contention late in the tournament.”  He finished in a third place tie with Bluefield State’s Nick Dent, eight shots off the pace.  Dent toured the final 36 holes at just one over par.  “I had two bogeys in the first four holes today, then had 13 pars and a birdie the rest of the way,” he recounted.

Seven-time Pocahontas champion Todd Satterfield began to challenge for the lead with a two-under 33 on the front side Sunday, but couldn’t sustain his momentum and finished his day with a 72.  “I flattened out a little after the turn, but I can’t complain,” he stated.

 “I just couldn’t keep things going.”  He finished the tournament in fifth place with a 54-hole 216.

Mark Gaynor and Ben Campbell were another shot back, sharing sixth place, one stroke in front of  Pocahontas Junior Division winner Matt Brittain and BSC’s Chandler Beavers.  Pocahontas Senior Division champion Kevin Leatherwood and Jeff Bryant rounded out the top ten with 54-hole 221s.

Buck Brittain’s 2012 Pocahontas title was his second, coming 13 years after he won the event in 1999.

 “This championship feels completely different than it did 13 years ago,” he added.  “I have been playing well all year, so I knew I had a good chance here.  There’s always a special feeling when you win the Pocahontas because you are playing with so many golfers you know pretty well and you are playing in front of so many friends.”

The 43rd Pocahontas Men’s Amateur was sponsored exclusively by First Century Bank.

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