Gaddy looks to retain Durham Am title
John Gaddy shot the lowest round of his career at the right time a year ago to claim the Durham Amateur Golf Tournament championship.
This weekend, he gets a chance to repeat the championship as Hillandale Golf Course hosts the Durham Am today and Sunday.
Gaddy’s final-round 63 in 2012 allowed him to overcome a five-shot deficit to win in his first time playing the Durham Am. Gaddy, a former college golfer at UNC Wilmington, said family commitments — he has three young children with the oldest being 8 years old — have kept him from playing much golf this year.
“I will play with whatever game shows up,” said Gaddy, a physical education teacher at Hillsborough’s Central Elementary School. “But I’m very excited to be playing again sure.”
Gaddy found himself in sixth place entering the Durham Am’s final round. But he made nine birdies, including eight on his final 14 holes, to rally past Evan Boyer, Rich Leeper, Jason Garrett, Eric Ardery and Bradley Leeper to win.
“I made everything I looked at, but I wouldn’t have made everything I looked at if I hadn’t been playing from the fairways,” Gaddy said. “I don’t anticipate that again, but it sure would be fun.”
Gaddy will tee off at 9:40 a.m. today at Hillandale’s 6,339-yard layout.
“I need to drive the ball well,” Gaddy said. “The course isn’t very long, but there is a premium on hitting on the fairway wherever you play. If you do that, chances are you are not going to have very far into the hole. I have to make sure I have the ball in play off the tee. I can figure the rest of it out.”
Garrett, the 2011 champion, is back in the 40-man field for this year’s tournament and tees off at 9:30 a.m. in the group just before Gaddy’s.
Boyer is not in the field after finishing as the tournament runner-up each of the past two years. But Ardery and Bradley Leeper are back to battle Gaddy again.
The 2012 Durham Am was the final tournament played at Hillandale before major renovations that closed the course for most of the summer.
This year’s tournament will be played on a course that features new greens that Gaddy said greatly improved the course because they are true.
“That was a great decision on their part to redo the greens,” Gaddy said. “They are consistent. It’s not like the old days where it’s hit or miss from green to green.”