AVON PARK - Not the weather or a strong field of challengers could stop Rocky Khara from winning his third consecutive Bill Jarrett Ford Golf Tournament on a stormy Sunday at River Greens Golf Club.
Khara, a standout player and captain of the Virginia Commonwealth University golf team, carded rounds of 65-67-132 for a six-shot victory over Greg Gentry who finished second at 138.
"It means a lot to win this tournament for the third straight year," Khara said. "It means even more because this will be the last time I play in it since I'm planning on turning pro next year.
"It's definitely a big win for me and gives me a lot of confidence heading into the rest of the summer."
Khara stayed aggressive despite enjoying a three-stroke lead heading into Sunday's final round, which had tee times moved up and used a shotgun start because of the approaching storms that soaked the Heartland.
"I hit the ball solid on the front nine but was even par because I couldn't make a putt," the 21-year-old Khara said. "Greg made a run at me with four birdies in a row, but I drove the green on the par 4 10th hole and two-putted for birdie, I birdied 13 and made eagle on the par 5 15th to give me some breathing room.
"I kept the ball in play and was 11 under on the par 5 holes which was a big reason I won."
Mark Stockeland finished third in the Championship A Flight with a two-day total of 146 and Travis Dunn was fourth at 149.
In the Championship B Flight, Tim Devlin finished first with a 159 after a match of cards with Mike Sayre, while Jody Pelfrey came in third at 162 after a match of cards with Mike Marlette.
Gary Williams won the First Flight A with a score of 158, Jay Jones placed second at 163 after a match of cards with Clay Davis and Russ Rudd was fourth with a 165.
Greg Kramer came in first in the First Flight B with a 167, Dennis Tondee was second at 174, Chuck Best Jr. shot a 175 and Terry Hancock was fourth with a 176.
In the Second Flight A, Felipe Garza won with a 162, Chris Martin finished second at 167, Jeff Wright came in third with a 168 and Joe Rafferty was at 175.
Jimmy Tsakalos won the Second Flight B with a 176, while Charlie Walden was second at 182 after a match of cards with Dennis Dunn and Gary Bagwell.
In Third flight A, Bernie Speaker was first with a 170, Jessie Macias came in second at 176 after a match of cards with Rick Helms and Bill Boyd was fourth at 177.
Joe Graf was first in the Third Flight B with a 189, Jim McKain placed second at 191 after a match of cards with Tim Thomas and Ron Runkel was fourth with a 192.
David Jahna won the Fourth flight A with a score of 183, Dennis Crews was second at 187, Buddy Richards shot a 189 and Cliff Martin came in at 191.
In the Fourth Flight B, Fred Jahna Jr. was first with a 201, Harvey Hollin placed second at 202, Raleigh Turnbull shot a 207 and Sid Jarrett came in fourth at 208.
The 98 golfers who competed in the tournament raved about the excellent condition of the course and were treated to an awards luncheon after Sunday's final round.
"It was a great weekend of golf and congratulations to Rocky," said River Greens professional Jason Beatty. "He has a lot of talent and it's going to be interesting to see what a home town kid can do when he turns pro. "We want to thank Bill Jarrett and his family for all that they have done over the last 27 years for this tournament and many other local events."
Khara is competing in a Florida Open qualifier this week in Sarasota, a U.S. Amateur qualifier later this summer and is looking forward to finishing his college career on a high note.
"We have a really good golf team at VCU and all of the guys are coming back," said Khara, who was all-conference last year. "We have two seniors and three sophomores and our goal is to win the Atlantic 10 Conference Championship.
"I'm going to play in the PGA Tour Latin America qualifier at Sun 'n Lake Golf Club early next year and we'll see what happens after that."