Danny Edwards, 25-year-old former All-America from Oklahoma State, continued the youth movement on the PGA by shooting 72-276, 12-under par and winning the Greater Greensboro Open by four stroke today.
George Burns, former University of Maryland golf captain, missed a chance to win by taking a quadruple bogey on a par-four hole and finished in a second-place tie with Larry Nelson at 280.
Burns missed a $5,000 nine-foot putt on the 18th that would have given him a birdie and sole possession of second place. The prize money was $26,790 for the second place winner and $16,635 for the third place man. Burns and Nelson split the second and third place money.
Rewards were many for Edwards. With his victory, his first on the tour after turning pro in 1974, he gained a ticket to the Masters on Thursday and also qualified for the Tournament of Champions. He was the fifth first-time winner this year, joining Bruce Lietzke, Tom Purtzer, Andy Bean and Graham Marsh.
Lee Elder made a respectable showing with a finishing round of 34-135-69 putting him at 285, three under par. His round included six birdies and three bogeys. He had a string of five straight threes on the front side, three for birdies.
A heavy shower in the morning delayed the start of play for more than two hours and the golfers started on the first and 10th tees.
Edwards was properly grateful at winning the $47,000 first prize. But he implied he had his success coming.
"It feels good to win," he said. "I played consistent, solid golf and that's my game. I stayed with it all week. I'm happy for my friends in Oklahoma who followed me all the way through high school and college and I'm grateful to my parents who sacrificed so much for me in this new game, to them, of golf.
"My brother helped me, too, with my game. It's a beginning to an end for me. I worked a long time and I have a lot more goals and dreams now that I've broken the ice."
Edwards said he felt sorry for Burns "I wasn't worried when George pulled to within two strokes, the slim Okalahoman said. "I figured he had to birdie the last two holes and I had only to par - I knew I could do it."
Players of Washington-area interest included Mark Alwin, former Columbia Club assistant pro, who finished with 74 for 295, and Bill Mallon, Duke University graduate who paired with Marty West to win the Belle Haven four-ball three years ago. He had 289 today with a finishing 69. There were 29 players who broke par on an ideal day for golfers who challenge pin placements.
The early morning rain left the greens heavy and the "fliers" held.
Burns took his setback graciously. "I have no excuses for that 8 on No. 4," he said. "I was under a tree and hit an eight-iron about 150 yards. The ball flew over the green and out of bounds. So I hit another eight-iron and flew the green again. I was lucky this one didn't go out. I'm five on the green and I three-putt for eight I think that tells everything.
"I am really happy for Danny (Edwards). Even with that eight I was still charging. I didn't want my whole week to go down the drain but in a way it did."
Burns did make a remarkable comeback. He was hot until that fatal seventh hole and was nine under par, three strokes behind Edwards.
His quadruple bogey brought him back to five under but Burns didn't quit. He birdied the 11th, 12th, 13th and 15th holes and cut Edwards' margin to two strokes when the Oklahoman bogeyed the 16th. But the par-three 17th was the undoing for Burns when he bogeyed.