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Bogey Keys Greer’s Mid-Am Triumph

Bogey Keys Greer’s Mid-Am Triumph


Bob Gary, Contributing Editor, http://www.ifyoulikegolf.com

Bob Gary

Tennessee Mid-Amateur Championship Leaderboard


It’s unlikely that Ryan Greer’s ever been as happy to make a bogey as he was Friday afternoon at The Honors Course.

With a birdie at the par-4 12th, the 32-year-old Knoxvillian took a one-shot lead in the final round of the Tennessee Mid-Amateur Championship. He scuffled around the green at the par-4 13th, though, and found himself needing to make a 10-foot putt just to save bogey.

He coaxed it in, which kept him in a tie with second-round leader Kevin Watford of Franklin, TN. Greer later bested Watford in a playoff for the title.

“When that [bogey putt] went in, I thought, ‘OK, I’ve got a chance,’” Greer said. “If I make double [bogey] there, it’s probably very different.”

Greer fired a 1-under-par 71 in the final round for a three-day total of 4-under-par 212. Watford, who’d opened with consecutive 69s, closed with 74. Greer and Watford finished two shots clear of Memphian Matt Cooper and Craig Smith of Nashville, each of whom posted final-round 69s. Tim Jackson of Memphis, a six-time Tennessee Mid-Am titlist, was briefly tied for the lead in the final round, but faded and finished fifth.


Josh Nelms, who closed with 70, was the low Chattanooga-area player at 221, 5-over-par. Other area players who made the 36-hole cut were Cleveland’s Brandon Cissom (74-224), Patrick Williams (77-228), Richard Spangler (79-230) and Richard Keene (82-232).

Watford started the day with a three-shot lead on Greer and Jackson. Watford briefly led by four and made the turn at even-par for the day, but lost ground – Jackson had crept to within one, while Greer was two back. With bogeys at 10 and 11, Watford fell into a tie with Greer and Jackson.

“Three-putted them both,” Watford said. “I was trying to make some birdies and get some distance.”

Greer inched ahead with his birdie at 12, but was tied again with Watford after the bogey at 13. Meanwhile, Jackson bogeyed 13 and 14 and couldn’t recover.

Greer dropped another shot, and fell one behind Watford, with a bogey at the exacting par-4 15th. At the par-3 16th, Greer missed the green and faced a ticklish downhill pitch. His ball slid eight feet past, but he made the comebacker to stay just one behind Watford, who had a good look at a birdie but missed.

“I thought that if I could get to 17 no more than one back, I still have a chance,” Greer said.

At the par-5 17th, Greer ripped a nearly 300-yard drive dead center, leaving him barely 200 yards out. His knocked his 5-iron second on the green and two-putted for a birdie that brought him even with Watford.

Greer’s approach to the home hole left him with a 15-foot birdie putt that would have given him the win. It burned the edge, though, and he settled for par and a playoff with Watford, who salvaged par at 18 from behind the green.

In the playoff, at Honors’ par-4 first, both players’ tee shots left them a bit more than 100 yards out. Greer hit his approach “exactly where I wanted” and had a 25-foot birdie putt. Watford, though, left his second well short of the green.

“I was between clubs and just didn’t commit to the shot,” Watford said.

Watford’s pitch left him an eight-foot par putt. Greer cozied his birdie putt, tapped in his par, then saw a dream come true when Watford missed.

“Back in 2006, one of my best friends, Bill Roach, and I made it to the final of the State Four-Ball,” Greer said. “We lost, and I told Bill that it was my dream to win a [Tennessee Golf Association] championship one day.

“I just can’t believe it was this day, and on this course,” he said.

Nelms got to 4-under-par for the day with an eagle at the par-5 11th, but then bogeyed 12, 13 and 14. He got one of those shots back with a last birdie at 17.

“I just haven’t played a ton this year,” said Nelms, who’s in the process of moving his young family back to Chattanooga from Spring Hill, Tenn. “I’ve got a six-month-old [child], the move and work. I mostly just hit balls. It’s been a while since I’ve been over a 10-foot putt that meant something.”

Ryan Greer2014 Tennessee Mid-Amateur Champion
Ryan Greer

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