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Davis wins Tillinghast Invitational in playoff

Gene Renfro • Updated Jun 2, 2019 at 8:14 PM

The 14th annual Tillinghast Invitational needed an extra hole to determine the championship, and a veteran took the trophy home at Johnson City Country Club on Sunday.

Tanner Davis beat Chance Taylor with a par on the first playoff hole to claim the title.

Davis had matched a 71 from Saturday’s round, as did Taylor, to force the playoff, which started and ended on the 18th hole.

The two-day total of 142 was the highest score for a winner since Joe Meade in 2008 with a score of 143.

Sunday’s extra hole marked the fourth time a playoff was needed, with the last time being in 2017 when Trevor Hulbert won.

Davis, who graduated from Dobyns-Bennett in 2002, saw his tee shot on the playoff hole land in the fairway, where his approach came up about 15 foot short. Taylor, a Gate City, Virginia, resident, hit his drive left, where his second shot hit a tree and ended up in the green-side bunker.

A third shot rolled to about 12 feet, and then he putted about 30 inches past the hole, leading to a bogey. Davis left his birdie attempt short by 15 inches, but made the par putt to clinch the top spot.

“It feels great, I’ve worked really hard for this the last couple of years,” Davis said. “It’s been a long time coming. I knew I could do it, it was a matter of doing it.”

The playoff was set up when Carson-Newman alum Davis birdied 16 and 17 before Taylor finished with a birdie on the last hole. Taylor, a rising sophomore at Tennessee Tech, needed a back-nine 33 for the playoff.

“I struggled on the front nine and shot three under on the back, which was really nice. The birdie on the last hole to get into the playoff was a good thing,” Taylor said.

Beforehand, Nick Forsberg and Tommy Miller shared the clubhouse lead with even-par 144 totals. Miller carded a 69 on Sunday thanks to birdies on 15 and 18. Forsberg started strong with three birdies on the first four holes en route to a Sunday score of 70.

Mike Poe posted a second 68 to capture the Senior Championship flight. He started two under though the first six holes before an eagle on 13. Poe played the final four holes in even par to win by six shots over Tim Dinwiddie and Cary Daniels.

Dinwiddie also posted two sub-par rounds with matching scores of 71, while Daniels had the division’s second-lowest score of the day at 69 to move up a spot.

“I played really well from tee to green where they had the hole locations you were going to have to make four- to five-foot putts to save par,” Poe said afterward. “If you got something close, you had to make it. It was fair and they did a great job running the tournament. I happened to keep it in play and make some putts.”

Dan Constantino and Dan Robbie maintained their leads in the first and second flights, respectively, to win. Rick Morgan overtook the co-leaders with a 78 to win the senior flight by three shots.

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