Willow Creek Country Club in Knoxville is holding its invitational tournament Saturday and Sunday, and some of the players who usually compete at Elizabethton have decided to go to Knoxville.
The big draw? Willow Creek is the site of U.S. Amateur qualifying on Tuesday, and the weekend of competitive golf will serve as a nice warmup for trying to get into a U.S.G.A. event.
The East Tennessee Amateur will be held Friday through Sunday. A field of 115 players will be competing in several divisions. The Championship Flight has 53 players, including eight who have won the tournament in the past.
“We have a really good field,” tournament director Mike Matheson said. “That’s eight more than we had last year. We’re pretty happy with the field considering what’s going on down in Knoxville. I understand that.”
Garrett Whitfield is the defending champion. Other former champs playing at Elizabethton are Cayman Ratliff, Nick York, Ben Treadway, Carlson Cox, Blake Howard, Lucas Armstrong and Bryan Sangid.
Ratliff, a two-time champion, holds the tournament record of 200, 16 under par.
With more than 50 players in the championship field, Matheson said there will be a cut after 36 holes. The low 30 players and ties will qualify to play on Sunday.
UT’S NEW COACH
Brennan Webb was on the fast track in college golf, and now he’s entered the big time as a head coach. When Webb was announced as the new coach at Tennessee, the move received nothing but praise around the college golf world.
Leading the charge was his former coach at East Tennessee State, Fred Warren. Warren is in the Golf Coaches Association of America Hall of Fame and has coached a lot of All-Americans, so his comments carry the weight of experience.
“Brennan Webb is not only one of the best coaches in collegiate golf, he is also one of the finest young men I have had the privilege of coaching,” Warren said. “In addition to the success he has experienced both in collegiate and professional golf, Brennan is an exceptional leader and a person of the highest character. He is an excellent communicator and has successfully built relationships at every level he has been.
“He has proven that he has the ability to recruit great players, to motivate and inspire them and to win. I have no doubt that his teams will achieve unprecedented success in the years ahead. The University of Tennessee hired a winner.”
Webb spent three years as an assistant at Georgia Tech, where he learned under the tutelage of Bruce Heppler, the nine-time Atlantic Coast Conference coach of the year.
“Coach Webb has a very special way with people,” Heppler said. “Both young and old are drawn to his energy and confidence, which is a tremendous gift in recruiting and program building. Additionally, he has the special ability of helping people believe in themselves like they never have done before. He challenges everyone around him to be better than they have ever been.”
Webb was most recently head coach at Middle Tennessee State, where his team made back-to-back NCAA appearances.
TRI-CITIES GOLF CLUB
John Fulwider has left his position as golf professional at Tri-Cities Golf Club to concentrate on his job as a wellness manufacturing company rep. He will also be giving golf lessons at Warriors’ Path.
After the East Tennessee Amateur concludes on Sunday, the local golf scene will turn its attention to the Ridgefields Invitational at the Club at Ridgefields in Kingsport. It’s scheduled for July 13-15 and it’s the fourth event on the Tri-Cities Amateur Tour.
LONESOME PINE INVITATIONAL
The 87th annual Lonesome Pine Invitational is set for July 21-22 at the club in Big Stone Gap, Virginia.
The entry fee is $135, $105 for members, and includes golf and cart fee for both tournament rounds, plus one practice round during the week of the event.
Divisions include Championship, Seniors (50-64), Super Seniors (65 & over) and Regular Flights. Players will be flighted using Saturday's scores. Players wanting to play in the Championship or Senior Flights must declare before Saturday's round.
The event is the final tournament on the Tri-Cities Amateur Tour.
Call (276) 523-0739 to enter.
A. Jacks Green not only has a unique name, he has a new title — Tennessee Junior Amateur champion.
Green, who will be a senior at Christ Presbyterian School in Nashville in the fall, claimed the crown by playing just one hole on the final day.
After inclement weather forced the final round to be canceled, Green and Wofford College signee Matt Copeland were tied at two over par.
After the rest of the field left the Stones River Country Club course, Green and Copeland waited until there was a break in the weather and then went out for a playoff to determine the champion.
Green, an early Lipscomb University commit, birdied the first hole to take the title. He had previously won the Tennessee junior PGA championship.