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Defending champ missing from East Tennessee Amateur

Joe Avento • Updated Jun 28, 2017 at 9:08 PM

ELIZABETHTON — One thing is certain entering this year’s Carter County Bank East Tennessee Amateur golf tournament. There won’t be a repeat champion at the 23rd edition of what has turned into the area’s biggest local tournament.

That’s because Jack Rhea, who won this tournament last year, is not among the entries. He’s on vacation as he prepares for his first year on the team at East Tennessee State University.

The tournament begins Friday morning at Elizabethton Golf Course and runs through Sunday. It’s 54 holes of stroke play for the Championship and Senior flights, and it’s the local tournament that has provided the most fireworks in recent years .

The action starts Friday at 7 a.m. when the popular match play flights begin.

The fist tee time in the Seniors Division is 9:55 a.m. The Championship Flight starts at 12:10 p.m.

Cayman Ratliff, an ETSU player who became the fourth repeat winner of this event in 2015, isn’t in the field either. He is reportedly on a mission trip.

That leaves Lucas Armstrong, the 2013 winner, as the most current champion in the 45-player Championship Flight field.

The 1 p.m. tee time consists of three former East Tennessee Amateur champions, Blake Howard, Nick York and Armstrong. Howard became the youngest champ of the event when he won it at age 16 in 2005. York holds the single-round record of 62, set during his winning year of 2010.

The 2:30 p.m. grouping has two former East Tennessee Amateur champs, Bryan Sangid (2004) and Ben Treadway (2012).

Sangid contended in the Tillinghast Invitational earlier this month at Johnson City Country Club.

Mike Poe will be back to defend his Senior Division championship.

ETA champs

2016: Jack Rhea

2015: Cayman Ratliff

2014: Cayman Ratliff

2013: Lucas Armstrong

2012: Ben Treadway

2011: Carlson Cox

2010: Nick York

2009: Richard Lowe

2008: Brad Robinson

2007: Grant Leaver

2006: Grant Leaver

2005: Blake Howard

2004: Bryan Sangid

2003: Adam Shanks

2002: Ryan Strickland

2001: Adam Shanks

2000: Adam Shanks

1999: Bill Argabrite

1998: Bill Argabrite

1997: Jim Volpenhein

1996: Bill Argabrite

1995: Jim Volpenhein

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