By Greg K. Deal
Shorelines Magazine Editor & Publisher
McCORMICK, S.C. – David Skinns has seen his world come full circle in Savannah Lakes Village.
The NGA Pro Golf Tour player met his wife in Savannah Lakes through friends of his tournament hosts, Bob and Carol Wieboldt, in 2009. Skinns, whose wife gave birth to a baby boy 2 1/2 weeks ago, has been busy with just about everything else but golf recently. He said his expectations were low for a victory in the SLV Classic because he hadn’t practiced much.
Oh, baby, was he wrong!
Skinns took advantage on the final day Sunday – when leader Brian Richey, of Lakeland, Fla., stumbled – and posted a 5-under-par 67 to win by a stroke over Richey and capture the $15,000 top prize. Skinns finished 13 under par for the tournament.
Richey entered the final round after sizzling early rounds, but he stumbled early on Sunday with a triple bogey on No. 5, then had his ball move for an unfortunate penalty stroke on No. 16 down the stretch. He was 2 over on the day. Meanwhile, Skinns kept on plodding his way through the course, making a plethora of birdies and even an eagle on the par-5 11th on a day when few others were carding low scores on the wind-blown, firm greens at the beautiful Monticello course at Lake Thurmond.
Skinns, of Suwanee, Ga., started his day six strokes back of Richey, who entered the final round at 14 under.
“I kinda knew that, up to a point, it didn’t really matter what I did because Brian had such a big lead starting the day over me; so, I knew he had to come back to me,” Skinns said. “So, for the first 15 holes, I just tried to make as many birdies as I could and then see where it put me on the last few. The last few holes were playing pretty hard, so it was nice to see I had a lead coming down to the last couple (of holes).”
This was Skinns’ eighth tour victory. Richey was looking for his first. Skinns has been playing in the SLV Classic since 2007, but this was his first victory at the event affectionately known as “the Masters of the NGA Tour.”
“I’ve made some really good friends here,” Skinns said. “I like the golf course. It’s just got a really nice vibe to it with the people coming out to watch and all the volunteers, and the fact that the community gets behind it so much. It’s really nice to play in that environment; so, yeah, it’s somewhere that I’ve wanted to win for a long time. It’s great to finally get it done in a week when I really didn’t expect to.”
Ken Looper, of Mandeville, La., had a strong final round, posting a 66 to finish in third at 11 under for the tournament. Jonathan Hodge, of Strawberry Plains, Tenn., finished in fourth at 10 under.
For full scores, visit the NGA Website.