Poignant conclusion to Hilton Head Island Amateur Golf Association event at Oldfield Golf Club

Final round marked by tribute to Jim Ferguson

mmccombs@islandpacket.comApril 29, 2013 

A day after a prominent area golfer died following his opening round, the Hilton Head Island Amateur Golf Association wrapped up its Senior Championship and Opening Tournament on Sunday at Oldfield Golf Club.

At 11 a.m., once all the golfers had teed off, a horn was sounded and golfers all over the course stopped where they were and observed a moment of silence in rememberence of Jim Ferguson, who was found slumped over the wheel of his car after he left the clubhouse on Saturday.

When the golf continued, Callawassie Island resident J.R. Evans supplemented his first-round 76, which had put him in third place, two shots off the lead, with a second-round 78, good enough for a 154 total and a one-stroke win over Keith Guise.

J.D.Hoft shot 70-77--147 to win the Open Division by two strokes over Joe Bryant.

Eight of the golfers competing in the senior tournament were residents of Callawassie.

"I don't think I'd have been the pick of the eight to win," said Evans, who has lived on Callawassie for seven years.

Evans' previous "claim to fame," as he called it, was his 2002 club championship at DuPont Country Club in Wilmington, Del.

But everyone around Evans went the wrong direction on Sunday. He entered the day two strokes behind first-round leader Tim McBride. But McBride shot 88. Second-place Ed Atkins, one stroke ahead of Evans, shot 81. Guise, who finished a stroke behind Evans, shot 76 to move up from sixth place.

"I certainly didn't drive well today," Evans said. "But when I missed (the greens), I missed them in a good spot. I really didn't putt well, either, but I made enough."

Having no idea how the rest of the field was faring late in his round, Evans thought for sure he wouldn't be a factor in the championship.

"When we got to No. 13, I made a bad decision there. Then I tripled 14," he said. "I just figured my day was over right there. I parred 15 -- I had a great drive but misread the putt. Then I birdied the par-3 16th."

But on a windy day, Evans did enough.

"This certainly feels good," he said.

Evans was not at the course when Ferguson died on Saturday. He got a phone call well after he had left the course.

"I heard about it when I got home," Evans said. "It's just sad."

Evans admitted he was "kind of surprised" that the tournament continued, but he didn't question the decision.

"If it were me," Evans said, "I'd want them to go ahead and play, too."

HHIAGA director Bob Collar was responsible for blowing the horn at 11 a.m.

"I was at No. 8," Collar said, "and every player I could see stopped and reflected for at least a few moments. It went extremely well. I could see people recalling memories of Jim and how much he meant to this organization."

Having known him before he took over the HHIAGA eight years ago, Collar said Ferguson may have made his living in real estate, but his life was golf and his children.

Collar admitted he was initially uncertain how he would handle the rest of the tournament and leaned on advice from others on what to do.

"We did what we thought was appropriate," Collar said. "It was well-received. I think it was a big part of the tournament so far."

According to Collar, the HHIAGA will find a way -- he's not sure just what, yet -- to honor Ferguson in some bigger way later in the season.

"After some reflection on Sunday morning, I realized looking back, since I took over the organization, at every tournament for eight years, Jim Ferguson played in every single one," Collar said. "And I realized, he's never going to play in another tournament."

HHIAGA Senior Championship and Opening Tournament

Sunday at Oldfield Golf Club

Senior Division

J.R. Evans 76-78--154

Keith Guise 79-76--155

Ed Atkins 75-81--156

Jim Hauck 76-80--156

Gary Perkins 80-76--156

Gibby Young 77-80--157

Chris Morris 83-75--158

Rick Thrasher 80-79--159

Chuck Hinners 81-81--162

Tim McBride 74-88--162

Bob Collar 82-81--163

Mickey Sinkus 87-86--163

Stew Butler 84-83--167

Roger Clark 80-88--168

Gary Neals 86-90--176

John Wagner 89-93--182

Open Division

J.D. Hoft 70-77--147

Joe Bryant 76-73--149

Dave Politi 75-78--153

Trey Testino 77-76--153

Benji Gecy 76-78--154

Gerry Pascale 79-75--154

Terry Lanning 78-77--155

Kevin Arnold 78-78--156

Brian Quigley 81-77--158

Brian Rizzo 77-81--158

Marcus Byler 81-78--159

Alex Kiproff 81-78--159

Ed Claytor 84-76--160

Charlie Hall 83-77--160

Jamie Manning 81-81--162

Bo Madeo 87-76--163

Jeffrey Bauer 81-84--165

Jeff Wong 86-81--167

John Piccone 81-88--169

Anthony Bonsignore 86-89--175

Brian Gecy 91-87--178

Greg Schmaus 80-NS

Gordon Gourley WD

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