East Tennessee Amateur halted by storm

Joe Avento • Updated Jul 6, 2018 at 8:18 PM

ELIZABETHTON — It’s safety first at the Carter County Bank East Tennessee Amateur golf tournament, so the first round of the 24th annual event was suspended Friday when a thunderstorm rolled through and the threat of another one loomed.

“There’s no need to roll the dice,” new Elizabethton Golf Course pro and general manager Chad Odom said. “You have to borrow on the safe side, 100 percent. It doesn’t take but one mistake to ruin the day for everybody.

”I’ve seen strange things in 28 years of doing this. You learn to borrow on the safe side and protect the players. We did the right thing.”

Vivid lightning and roaring thunder more or less signified the end of the first round as most of the field milled about the scoring pavilion and the clubhouse. Not too long after, it was confirmed. The round was suspended shortly before 5 p.m.

With nobody in the Championship Flight finished — and one group yet to start — Saturday figures to be a long day of golf. Everybody who didn’t finish will resume from where they left off at 8 a.m. The groups won’t be changed to expedite getting the players back out for the second round.

The Championship Flight is scheduled to begin the second round at 10:30 a.m. The final Championship Flight tee time is 1:20 p.m. Blake Howard, Ben Treadway and Tyler Duntsch will have the longest days, with 36 holes to play. They were on the first tee when the siren sounded pulling players off the course.

Howard and Treadway are former champions of this event.

Among the finishers in the Senior Division, Mike Wood shot a six-under-par 66 and won’t have to play again until his 10 a.m. second-round tee time.

Wood, from Franklin, North Carolina, is bidding for his third consecutive Tri-Cities Amateur Tour tournament title. He won the Tillinghast Invitational at Johnson City Country Club and the Link Hills Invitational in Greeneville.

The good news is the forecast for the rest of the weekend is calling for nice weather with highs in the high-80s and just a slight chance of rain.

”Let’s enjoy the day tomorrow and take advantage of an 80-degree day in July,” Odom said. “We’ll be ready to go.”

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