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 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.