By Al Muskewitz

Sports Writer



State Lefthanders Championship

OXFORD You can't argue with Dante Graham's record in the Alabama Left-Handed Golf Association Championship.


He's played in it two times and has two wire-to-wire titles by wide margins.


The 47-year-old Hoover resident locked up his second consecutive title by shooting a final-round 75 on Sunday at Cider Ridge Golf Club. He shot 5-over 216 for the tournament and won by eight shots over Greg Payne of Leeds.


Graham won by 10 shots last year.


"Our field was a little smaller this year, but I wouldn't say it was any easier," Graham said. "I shot about the same thing last year I didn't play as well today as I did the first day (70), but I didn't make any big, major mistakes.


"I'm just very fortunate that I was able to win it twice in a row, because I may never win it again."


Graham took a six-shot lead into the final round and lost two at the second hole, but Payne played the next three holes in 4-over while Graham went 1-under through the same stretch to regain a comfortable edge.


"At that point I just thought 'Just keep it on the golf course,'" he said. "I made a double bogey on 6, but after that it was just 'Get it to the house.'"


But the super-sized trophy won't go there. He tried to put it on the mantle in the family room last year and his wife wouldn't go for it, so he made a home for it in his office. It'll go in the same place this year.