PCCC’s Cinderella story avoids clock striking midnight

Baldwin looking at his lie

Just before 3 p.m. Saturday, the clock almost struck midnight for the Cinderella story of the PGA Web.com’s Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr Pepper.

Almost being the key word.

Mark Baldwin salvaged par on the par-5 18 after his approach shot sliced into the water hazard and somehow bounced up to the bank of the ninth hole.

And yet as the final round of the PCCC opens at 9 a.m. Sunday at Highland Springs Country Club, Baldwin is sitting only three strokes back of leader Mark Trainer.

You see, Baldwin hit his third shot back up to the back of the ninth green, knocked a 60-yard pitch over the water and past the flag stick, then sank a 15-foot putt.

The comeback leaves Baldwin at 18-under par 198. Trainer is at 21-under par 195 following a torrid front nine, and Steven Ihm climbed into second with a 63, leaving him at 19-under.

However, all eyes were on Baldwin, a 34-year-old Web.com Tour rookie who entered this week at No. 144 on the money list and who had missed 12 cuts this season.

“I get up there (to the bank) and it’s at a 70-degree angle, pitched straight back into the water and it’s hanging by a little, teeny blade of grass,” Baldwin said. “And I am creeping up to the thing and thinking, ‘Any moment, a gust of wind could come, or I might breath the wrong way, and that ball rolls back into the water.’”

From there, Baldwin – his back to the 18th green – pitched the ball up to the ninth green, took relief on the fringe (a penalty-free drop) and then took aim at the flag stick again.

“I had no idea, really, just a pure guess as to what the distance was off a really tight fringe lie – probably tighter than most people play on Saturday and Sunday,” Baldwin said. “It was the luckiest, fun par I’ve ever made. It felt like an eagle.”

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SUNRISE SERVICE AT 7:30 AM 

Sunrise Service

Meet us on the 18th green for a Sunrise Service at 7:30 AM Sunday. Chalmer Harper of 88.3 the Wind will play music, with Pastor Michael Overton from First Baptist Church giving a short message!

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WEAR BLUE FOR
GO BLUE FORE AUTISM
CHAMPIONSHIP SUNDAY

.Go Blue-secondary logo

Be sure to wear blue on the final day of the tournament, which for the fourth consecutive year is the ‘Go Blue for Autism’ Championship Sunday. What a great showcase it has been for The Arc of the Ozarks, which again will decorate the course in blue and have a blue tent set up near the 18th fairway – with blue treats to be given away. Kick back furniture provided by the At Home Store.

Since joining the PCCC 14 years ago, The Arc of the Ozarks has turned its PCCC donations toward covering costs of 100 kids in its No Limits Summer Camp. The kiddos have been able to travel to Table Rock Lake, the Dickerson Park Zoo as well as dance and music therapy sessions. Some 62 percent of campers have been diagnosed with autism,

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WIN THIS FORD F-150 STX
OR $10,000 IN 
TLC PROPERTIES CHARITY SWEEPSTAKES

Ford F-150 XTS

Tickets remain available for the grand prizes of the TLC Properties Charity Sweepstakes — a Ford F-150 STX or $10,000. They’ll be drawn following play on the 18th green on Championship Sunday.

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HOW TRAINER RE-TOOK THE LEAD

Web.com Tour-logo

Trainer re-took the lead Sunday, thanks to seven birdies – five on the front nine – and overcoming a bogey on No. 4.

His approach shot on 18 actually hit the mesh netting of the skybox, but his 40-foot putt positioned him close enough for a manageable putt for par. He had taken the lead on No. 3 and took a two-stroke advantage into the turn.

That came as Ihm, who was three groups ahead, was closing fast. Ihm carded a 63 thanks to eight birdies.

“Yeah, I checked the scoreboard, and I saw how they were doing, and they were playing great,” said Trainer, a Frenchman who is No. 24 on the money list who, before Friday, had failed to break 70 after posting a 64 round. “Ultimately, I’m just over the ball and I’m trying to hit it and I’m trying to make a birdie. What difference does it make if I’m in in first, third or 10th?”

Meanwhile, Alex Prugh and Chad Ramey are at 17-under, just ahead of Henrick Norlander, Lee McCoy and Willy Wilcox.

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LET’S SALUTE!

The Junior ROTC of Ozark High School will march the U.S. & Missouri flags to the No. 1 tee box, and Sgt. First Class SFC D. Austin Parks of the Lamar-based Army National Guard will man the flag stick on the 18th green for Championship Sunday.

BIG WEEKEND AWAITS 29TH PCCC

BOGOTA, COLOMBIA - FEBRUARY 19: Mark Baldwin of the United States tees off on the 16th hole during the final round of the PGA TOUR Latinoamerica 70 Avianca Colombia Open at Club Campestre Guaymaral on February 19, 2017 in Bogota, Colombia. (Photo by Enrique Berardi/PGA TOUR)
Mark Baldwin — Courtesy of Web.com Tour

He’s a 34-year-old rookie on the Web.com Tour, has slept in a thatched hut, consumed roasted bugs and driven a golf cart off a cliff.

Anything else? Well, despite entering the week at No. 144 on the money list, Mark Baldwin on Friday morning took the lead in the PGA Web.com Tour’s Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr Pepper.

Baldwin carded a 64 and is now at 15-under-par 129 at Highland Springs Country Club, making for an interesting weekend. (Saturday’s round will begin at 8 a.m. as the tournament hopes to beat an ominous afternoon weather forecast.)

Baldwin now has 14 birdies, including eight in the second round. On Thursday, he eagled No. 8, a 544-yard par 5 where it’s difficult to see the green which, already hugged by a water hazard, sits beyond a downward slope. That was among 36 eagles by all golfers in the opening round.

This for a New Hampshire native who last fall secured guaranteed Web.com Tour starts for the first time in his 13-year pro career. He has played on the PGA Tour’s tour in China, Latinoamerica and the MacKenzie Tour in Canada as well as in addition to four other tours. He stayed in a thatched hut and ate roasted bugs on the Asia tour.

“Honestly, I hit a series of shots out there that got me into the right places,” Baldwin said Friday, “so my putter could do the talking. It said all the right things. I got on a nice little roll right there on the front and made five putts consecutively from 15 feet or longer and one was like a 40-footer. All were dead center.”

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RECORD-SETTING DAY AT PCCC

Web.com Tour-logo

The cut was made after play Friday, and it is incredible. It’s 7-under 137, tying the Web.com Tour record for low 36-hole cut previously set at the 1991 Dakota Dunes Open, the 2004 Henrico County Open and the 2006 Chattanooga Classic. CHECK OUT THE FULL LEADERBOARD

His performance leapfrogged over Thursday’s leader, Martin Trainer, who was one shot back following Friday’s morning round. That’s the same with Jose de Jesus Rodriguez, who is a lock to be on the PGA Tour next season as he entered the PCCC at No. 11 on the money list.

Rodriguez pocketed eight birdies in a 10-hole stretch Friday, hours before the field was cut. He actually bogeyed Nos. 4 and 5 and then birdied the next eight holes.

That came on a day when Trainer eagled No. 1, his first hole of the day, and how important it was. He ended up bogeying Nos. 4, 9, 10, and 18.

Meanwhile, Kyle Jones, Jay McLuen, Fernando Mechereffe were also in the hunt.

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WEAR YELLOW ON SATURDAY
& SUPPORT DSGO!

DSGO Tent

For the second year in a row, the Down Syndrome Group of the Ozarks is set up in a yellow tent near the No. 9 fairway, and we’re celebrating “Down Syndrome Awareness Day” on Saturday, so please wear yellow in support!

The DSGO champions kids, teens and adults with Down syndrome by providing medical, educational and social support. Presentations are made at schools and to civic organizations, with immediate outreach for parents with babies born with Down syndrome. Employment of those with Down syndrome also is a top priority.

Thanks to your support last year, DSGO is using a portion of its PCCC dollars to bring a Down Syndrome Education Specialist certification program to the Ozarks.  Funds were also used this past year to hold medical presentations to a group of pediatricians and NICU nurses at Mercy Hospital. This for an organization that began as a small group in 2006 and has now has a board of directors, executive director and reaches 350-plus folks annually in the Ozarks.

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WIN THIS FORD F-150
OR $10,000

Truck Friday

The $25 TLC Properties Charity Sweepstakes tickets remain available. The grand prizes are a Ford F-150 STX and $10,000 and will be drawn after play Sunday on the 18th green. The tickets are also good for a four-day grounds pass.

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GO BLUE FOR AUTISM
CHAMPIONSHIP SUNDAY

Go Blue-secondary logo

Be sure to wear blue on the final day of the tournament, which for the fourth consecutive year is the ‘Go Blue for Autism’ Championship Sunday.

What a great showcase it has been for The Arc of the Ozarks, which again will decorate the course in blue and have a blue tent set up near the 18th fairway – with blue treats to be given away. Kick back in furniture provided by the At Home Store.

Since joining the PCCC 14 years ago, The Arc of the Ozarks has turned its PCCC donations toward covering costs of 100 kids in its No Limits Summer Camp. The kiddos have been able to travel to Table Rock Lake, the Dickerson Park Zoo as well as dance and music therapy sessions. Some 62 percent of campers have been diagnosed with autism.

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HONOR GUARDS TO MARCH
U.S. & MISSOURI FLAGS
TO NO. 1 TEE BOX

Honor Guard-Missouri Highway Patrol

Saturday: Missouri State Highway Patrol

Sunday: Junior ROTC — Ozark High School

Check out the video of Springfield Police’s Honor Guard on Friday

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TICKETS

$10 — Daily grounds pass

$150 — Jackson Brothers of the South Ozarks Club badge: Good for every day and entrance to catered food & drink tent!