Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Johnson, Barry defend Chick-fil-A crown
By Matt Fortuna
Move over, Gamecocks. There's a new repeat champion in town.
Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson and former hoops star Jon Barry defended their Chick-fil-A Bowl Challenge title Tuesday with a one-stroke victory to take home the $125,000 scholarship prize in Greensboro, Ga.
The Yellow Jackets duo finished 10-under par, with Barry nailing a five-foot putt on the 18th hole to hold off Maryland (Randy Edsall/Stan Gelbaugh) and Florida State (Jimbo Fisher/Terrell Buckley) and win the crown for the second year in a row. South Carolina's Steve Spurrier and Sterling Sharpe had won back-to-back crowns in 2008 and 2009, and that duo tied for eighth Tuesday.
There's apparently no truth to the rumor that Johnson and Barry stood up last year and guaranteed a repeat title, a la Pat Riley in 1987.
"It was a first-class tournament," Johnson said. "It's fun to play out here and I’m very fortunate to have a partner that's as skilled as Jon. It got real competitive coming down the stretch. We knew on 16 that we had to get probably to 10-under because we knew the guys had strokes on us on the last hole."
Barry also won the celebrity long-drive contest, hitting a ball 308 yards for a $5,000 scholarship prize. Miami coach Al Golden won the coaches division contest with the exact same distance.
"I didn't want to have to hit a five footer to win this tournament, but coach hit a great chip in there," Barry said. "We knew we had to make par on the toughest hole in Georgia and we got it done. It was a lot of fun. I'll tell you, my mouth was dry and I was as nervous as I've ever been. Thankfully we got it done and had a great time."
Nine ACC pairings made up the 15-team field for the event, which had a scholarship purse of $520,000. An additional $243,000 was generated for charitable organizations. An ACC pairing has won the event four out of six times, with FSU claiming the top spot in 2010 and Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer and Dell Curry winning in 2007.
A complete final scoreboard can be found here.