McKenney Wins Regions Cup Invitational
Upstart tops accomplished trio for first title
By David Westin, The Augusta Chronicle
Adam McKenney is no longer a Regions Cup outsider.
McKenney joined the amateur circuit's winners' club by taking the second annual Regions Cup Invitational at Gordon Lakes Golf Course on Sunday.
McKenney, 21, beat first-round leader Jamie Felder, of Grovetown, on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff for the victory.
The Evans golfer had played in only a handful of Regions Cup tournaments and never won coming into this week.
But after shooting even-par 72 in the first round, McKenney found himself paired in the final round with Regions Cup standouts Felder, Jay Blackburn and Doug Weiss, who have combined for 15 Regions Cup titles.
In addition to being the underdog -- and the youngest player by 11 years -- McKenney didn't know his playing partners, who are all good friends.
"It was a little different this morning on the first tee," McKenney said. "The other three guys were kind of joking around with each other, and I felt kind of left out."
McKenney earned their respect with his second consecutive 72 on the challenging course.
That put him in a playoff with Felder, who followed his 71 with 73.
Felder got into the playoff by making a 10-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole. McKenney then missed an 8-foot birdie that would have given him the outright victory.
The playoff, which started on the LakeView side's opening hole, ended quickly. Felder, who bogeyed the hole in regulation, hit over the green and missed a 7-foot par putt. McKenney hit the green in regulation and two-putted from 15 feet.
"Today was a good day," McKenney said. "Those guys know how to play golf. Anytime you can beat guys that good, it's a confidence booster."
McKenney, a senior at Georgia Southwestern State in Americus, knew of his playing partners' reputations, but he didn't know they had combined for so many wins until he read it in The Augusta Chronicle on Sunday morning.
"I said, 'Wow, what have I got myself into now?' "
McKenney had three birdies and three bogeys in a round that left Felder impressed.
"He's got a good swing and a good, solid game," said Felder, a former Regions Cup Player of the Year and a four-time winner. "He's not a guy who is going to outstandingly impress you, but he's going to get the job done."
Even-par rounds of 72 seemed to do the trick for McKenney at Gordon Lakes. In addition to his pair this week, he shot 72 as a junior and senior at Evans High School to win the Knights' region tournament both years.
"Seventy-two is a good score out here; I'll take it," he said.
This was McKenney's last Regions Cup appearance this year. He'll play in the Georgia Open next week before heading back to school Aug. 14.
Senior division winner Greg Scurlock has now won twice this year, taking two different routes. He was the overnight leader when he won the Augusta City Amateur two weeks ago, and rallied from three back to win Sunday.
Scurlock closed with 69 to finish at 2-under 142. Bob Varn (73) and first-round leader Kenny Larry (74) tied for second place, two shots back.
Scurlock played in the group in front of Larry and Varn.
"I'm playing in front of those guys, and I'm sure they're looking at each other and playing against each other in a match-play type situation, so it's easy for me to put two decent nines together," Scurlock said.
"A lot times when you do that, it just works out."