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Houser takes Match Play senior crown

August 4th, 2011 11:08 pm by Joe Avento

Mark Houser continued his torrid summer this week by winning the Tennessee Senior PGA Match Play Championship.
It was the fourth victory of the year for the professional at Warrior’s Path. He’s also won the Baneberry Senior Open, the Chattanooga Classic and the Coca-Cola Classic.
This championship was Houser’s most dramatic. He beat Tom Kammann 4 and 3 in the final at River Islands Golf Club in Kodak, but that was almost anticlimactic compared to his semifinal victory.
Houser was three holes down with six to go against Buddy Harston before making five birdies in the last six holes to win 1-up.
n Scott Stallings’ playoff win at the Greenbrier Classic was the latest PGA Tour victory for a golfer from Tennessee.
Stallings went to Oak Ridge High School and played for Tennessee Tech.
He joined former ETSU golfers Garrett Willis and Eric Axley and Vanderbilt’s Brandt Snedeker as Tennesseans with recent PGA Tour wins.
Willis won the 2001 Tucson Open, Axley won the 2006 Texas Open and Snedeker won this year’s Heritage and the 2007 Wyndham.
Stallings beat Bob Estes and former Ridges Intercollegiate champion Bill Haas in a playoff to become the 10th first-time winner this year and the sixth rookie to win. He earned his PGA Tour card the hard way. After finishing 53rd on the Nationwide Tour’s money list last year — and not getting one of the PGA Tour spots reserved for the top 25 — he went to the qualifying tournament, known as Q-school, and earned his way in.
Stallings pocketed $1,080,000 for his win. He’s also in next year’s Masters.
Willis posted his third top-25 finish this year at the Greenbrier after a final-round 65 left him tied for 18th. He won $68,000.
n With two events left on the Tri-Cities Amateur Tour, the points races are shaping up.
Carlson Cox, coming off a runner-up finish at the Graysburg Hills Amateur, leads with 200 points. Justin Harvey is second at 130.5 and newly crowned Graysburg Hills Amateur champion Chris Wynne is third at 100.5.
Mike Freels leads the senior division. He has a 53-point lead over Lyman Fulton.
The next event is the Aug. 13-14 Woodlake Invitational where Wynne is the defending champion.
The final event is the Tri-Cities Amateur Championship, set for Aug. 27-28 at Blackthorn Club at the Ridges. Entries are currently being accepted. The entry fee is $150 and it’s open to anyone living in the following counties: Washington, Johnson, Sullivan, Unicoi, Greene,
Grainger, Claiborne, Hancock, Hawkins and Carter in Tennessee, and Lee, Scott, Washington and Wise in Virginia.
The top players on the points lists after the tour has concluded — plus the Tri-Cities Amateur Championship winners — will be invited to play in the Tri-Cities Cup Matches on Oct. 14 at Link Hills Country Club in Greeneville.
n Former ETSU golfer Chris Dibble has qualified for the Nationwide Tour’s News Sentinel Open.
Dibble, head professional at Holston Hills Country Club in Knoxville, earned one of three spots available to Tennessee PGA members in a qualifier. He shot 70 at Fox Den Country Club.
Fox Den assistant Scott Masters (66) and Kevin Boyle of Collierville (70) also qualified.
The News Sentinel Open is scheduled for Aug. 25-28 at Fox Den. It will be Dibble’s fifth appearance in a Nationwide Tour event.

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