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Whitfield captures East Tennessee Amateur in playoff

Gene Renfro • Updated Jul 2, 2017 at 9:17 PM

ELIZABETHTON — History was going to repeat itself one way or another in Sunday’s final round of the Carter County Bank East Tennessee Amateur golf tournament.

The championship flight came down to Science Hill alum Garrett Whitfield and former champion Lucas Armstrong. The two had three-day totals of 206 to both finish a shot better than Tyler Lane and Jeff Scott. Whitfield needed a six-under-par 66 to get into the tie for first. Armstrong was in the final group and had the low round inside the group with a 68 to reach the 10-under-par mark.

The top two moved to 18 once scores were confirmed for the playoff. Whitfield hit a similar drive to the one in regulation leaving him the same yardage for the approach. That helped the Austin Peay signee to reach the green in regulation while Armstrong needed an up and down from the bunker for par. Whitfield nestled his birdie attempt close to secure the win.

“After I hit the approach shot and saw his, I kinda knew if I made the putt I would win,” Whitfield said about the playoff hole. “After his bunker shot I knew I had two shots to win.”

Whitfield became the eighth different player with Science Hill ties to win at the East Tennessee Amateur in the 23-year history of the event. Players with Hilltoppers ties have taken home a total of 10 championships as Adam Shanks was a three-time winner. Armstrong was looking for a second win to match his 2013 title.

“I just came off a junior event this whole week and I’m tired,” Whitfield said. “I’ve been playing better and it finally came around in this final round.”

It took a three-under stretch in the final five holes to get Whitfield in position.

Scott had four straight birdies on the front nine for a 67 and moved up three places in the final standings. Nick Cohen rounded out the top-five with a three-day total of 210. Evan Spence also had a closing round of 67 which bumped him from a tie in 13th to a tie for seventh.

The overall senior competition saw Mike Poe come to 18 with the lead, but a double-bogey brought dropped him to a final-round 73. That sent Poe, James Fender and Ronnie Breeden to a playoff. They all had three-day totals of 212.

The trio played the first hole where Fender eon with a birdie.

The match play flight winners were Lynn Lane, Greg Goulds, Lucas Andrews, Mark Dugger and Carroll Deaton.

Tournament director Mike Matheson added that the players were able to play on the course which was in great shape thanks to the staff led by Louis Hopkins. The event paid out winnings to 60 players which was almost half of the field.

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