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1975

Fred Ridley

For the second consecutive year the Championship had a Florida-Texas finale and once again the Florida player won. Fred Ridley, of Cypress Gardens, Fla., defeated Keith Fergus, of Houston, Texas, 2 up, in the 36-hole final round over the Country Club of Virginia's James River Course in Richmond.

In winning the Championship Ridley defeated some of the best known players in the field, including Curtis Strange, of Virginia Beach, Va., who had won the North and South and the Eastern Amateur Championships earlier in 1975, and Andy Bean, of Lakeland, Fla., the current Western Amateur Champion, both by 2 and 1. He defeated Strange in the sixth round and Bean in the semi-final round.

Ridley was taken to the final hole only twice, first when he defeated Jack Veghte, of Clearwater, Fla., on the 19th hole in the quarter-final round and against Fergus in the final. Fergus went to the last hole only against Ridley, and he was behind in only three matches before the final against Ridley, He went ahead quickly, taking a 2-up lead after three holes, but Ridley pulled even after six.

Ridley had made only four birdies on the previous 116 holes he had played, but then he made six on the last 12 holes of the morning round, and went to luncheon with a 5-up lead. He increased his lead to 6 up after the first hole of the afternoon portion, but by the end of the first nine, Fergus had cut Ridley's lead to two holes.

Ridley once again began to pull away and with five holes to play led by 4 up. Fergus then won 14, 15, and 16, and with two holes to play he was just one hole behind. Both men went one over par on the 17th, and Ridley won the match on the 18th, a par-4 hole, when Fergus hit his second shot well over the green and was short with his third.

Jerome K. Pate, the 1974 Champion, had become a professional earlier in the year and was not eligible to defend his title. Marvin M. Giles, III, the 1975 British Amateur Champion and 1972 United States Champion, lost in the first round, while John Grace, runnerup in 1974,was eliminated in the third round. The entry reached 2,258, surpassing the previous high of 2,420 of 1974.

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