The Best Final Round in Brick Capital History – Ray Epley’s 65 Still Stands After 34 Years

By Jon Hockaday

Ray Epley’s final round 65 in 1986 still stands as the lowest final round by a Brick Capital Champion in the history of the event.   The round took place on Sunday in the final round of the 1986 Brick Capital Classic.   Epley would start way back in the pack for Sunday’s final round and eventually turn in the best round of his Brick Capital career and shock the championship field with a no bogey 6-under par 65 to win the title.

Epley shot an opening round 74 on Saturday and was the 13th player listed in the Championship flight going into Sunday’s round.   While the final 3 groups of the Championship flight teed off on the 10th tee, Epley was up ahead starting on the 12th and 6 shots behind the lead.    Epley got off to an auspicious start as he drove it in the right trees, chipped out, wedged onto the green and then rolled in a 20-footer for par.   Epley would par 13 thru 16 and then got the one break he needed to get things going.   After missing the 17th green short by 20 yards, Epley’s pitch shot found the bottom of the hole for a birdie 3.    He would par the 18th and then the first 4 holes on Sanford Golf Club’s front nine.   Epley stood (-1) one under par for the day and (+2) for the tournament with seven holes left to play.

When Epley reached the 5th tee, little did he know what was about to happen.  It would be a streak of 5 birdies in the next 6 holes, a final round 65, and a (-3) 139 total that would shock the Brick Capital field.   Birdies at 5, 6, 8, 9, & 10 were all from inside 10 feet.   Epley blew past everyone and into the lead.  Epley hit the green on his final hole – the par 3 11th – and after leaving a 30-footer for birdie 4 feet short, Epley was able to wiggle the final putt home for his record round.  

The 1986 event was a shining moment for the straight hitting Epley, who built his game into one of precision, fairways & greens.  There were no bogeys on the card on this final round Sunday and Epley never really had any tense moments of truth other than the 20-footer at his 1st hole and his 4-footer at the last.  

Ray Epley never had the length to overpower a golf course but compensated with making the fewest mistakes and keeping the ball in play.   And that is exactly what he did on this day in 1986.   A no-bogey round of 65 that won the Brick Capital Classic and 34 years later – Ray Epley’s round still stands as the lowest final round in Brick Capital Classic history.


Note: Ray Epley is the only player to win the Brick Capital Classic Regular & Senior Divisions.


Coming Thursday, June 18 – A Look at Bobby Ballinger’s Win in 2000.


About the Writer – Jon Hockaday is a PGA Life Member (Retired) that worked at several area courses over a 32-year career, including early in his career at Sanford Golf Club.  Hockaday played in 5 Brick Capitals before helping manage the tournament from 1987-1993.   Since 1993, Hockaday has been the voice on WFJA for Brick Capital updates and has seen all but two of the forty-three Brick Capital Classic Golf Tournaments – interviewing the last 27 winners on WFJA Sports.    He has also reported live updates from seven US Open Championships and is a Co-Host of “Golf Talk of the Carolinas” that airs on WFJA.


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