comments powered by Disqus
CHUCKEY — The rules of golf say a player can only have one caddy, but Chris Wynne insists he had a little extra help on Sunday.
Just days after local golfer Joe Meade’s tragic death, Wynne used a heroic comeback to win the Graysburg Hills Amateur. He shot a five-under-par 67 to overcome an early six-stroke deficit and was nearly in tears while dedicating the tournament to his fallen friend.
“Joe was with me all day,” said Wynne, who posted a two-day total of 138, six under par. “ He was on my mind all day. This was his track and I really wanted to win for him today.”
With another friend of Meade’s, Sasha Catron, carrying his bag, Wynne captured his second local tournament title, adding Graysburg to the Woodlake Invitational crown he won last year.
“It feels good,” Wynne said while holding a picture of Meade, who died of a heart attack last week, in his hand. “I’m just wondering what he’d be saying to me right now.”
Defending champion Carlson Cox finished second at 141 after a closing 70. First-round leader Tommy Miller and Payne Jones were next at 142.
In the senior tournament, Spencer Smith birdied the first hole of a sudden-death playoff to edge Mike Poe for the title. Smith closed with a 67.
While Wynne, a former Science Hill High School golfer who played at Tusculum College, was celebrating his victory, another golfer was feeling like he let one get away. Miller opened with a 65 and took a five-stroke lead into the final round.
When Miller birdied the first hole, his lead was six over Wynne and Brandon Worley. But by the end of the day, Miller had shot 77 and was tied for third.
“Greg Norman is my golf hero, so I guess it’s only fitting,” Miller said. “I really hit one bad drive and one bad iron shot all day. I couldn’t make a putt. I couldn’t reach the hole all day. If I had putted decent, I would have shot even par and probably won.”
Wynne birdied the first two holes and cut into Miller’s lead some more at the par-four seventh hole with a birdie from off the green. Combined with the leader’s bogey, it was a two-stroke swing.
“I knew I had a chance at that point,” Wynne said.
The turning point came at the tough uphill 13th hole. Miller hooked his drive out of bounds and made a triple-bogey. Wynne made a routine par and assumed the lead.
Wynne credited Catron with helping him win.
“Sash kept me patient,” Wynne said. “He made me slow down and kept me pumped up. There were a couple of times where he talked me into doing something I might not have done, and it waws always the right decision. He helped a lot.”
Worley, Nick Cohen and Bill Hardin tied for fifth at 144.
In the senior division, Smith overcame a five-stroke deficit to catch Poe, who had opened with a 69. Smith shot 32 on the back nine to get into the playoff despite a bogey at the par-three 17th.
“I got a couple of lucky breaks and made some early birdies and that got mwe going,” said Smith, a Greeneville resident. “On the third hole I almost lost my ball but I made a birdie. I got a lot of positive thoughts from that.”
Smith ended regulation by making a 15-foot putt for par.
“I didn’t know where I stood, but walking off the green I knew that was a big putt,” he said. “It was a lot of fun. Shoot, it’s fun to win again.”
In the playoff, Smith hit the fringe of the par-five in two and two-putted for birdie to win.
Mike Freels, Tim Dinwiddie and Lyman Fulton tied for third at 144.