DALTON, Ga.—Brandon Cissom played so well in the first round of the North Georgia Invitational on Saturday than he cruised to victory on Sunday by shooting even par.
The former Lee University golfer shot a 10-under-par 134 over two rounds at Dalton Golf and Country Club for his first victory in the Chattanooga TPC series.
He began the tournament with a personal-best 10-under 62 on Saturday in hot, put perfect, golf conditions. Cissom made 10 birdies, an eagle and two bogeys in the first round.
“A lot of times I’ll get to five or six under then make a bunch of pars, but I kept making birdies,” Cissom said of his first round. “I didn’t miss a green and I didn’t make a putt over 20 feet, but I didn’t have many that long.”
Cissom’s stellar first round provided him with a seven-shot lead heading into the second round. Nobody came within two shots of him all afternoon.
Former Lee University golfer Matt Robertson finished second at 6 under par, and current Vanderbilt golfer Will Snipes placed third at 5 under. Bob Hullender won the senior division at 1 under after a final-round 70.
Cissom had control of the tournament for most of the weekend. He reached 11 under with an eagle on No. 10. But he bogeyed Nos. 12 and 13 after Roberston dropped his tournament score to 8 under.
Then a one-hour weather delay halted play. Golfers headed back out to begin play. Some hit one shot. Some hit none before another horn sounded halting play for about 30 minutes.
“I had it to three strokes, but after the second rain delay, I didn’t feel right over a golf shot,” said Robertson, who bogeyed two of the last three holes. “I’d made three birdies in a row then we had to come in. They put me on ice.”
Cissom too wobbled down the stretch. He found trouble on three straight holes in the form of two bunkers and a tree. On No. 15, his approach from behind a tree settled 60 feet and a ridge away from the cup. He made the two-putt for par.
“That saved my round, and I had a good up-and-down on 16 too,” Cissom said. “I thought, let’s just get it close.’”
He did. And he closed with a birdie on the final hole of the tournament.
“I was trying to go out there and play aggressive like I did [Saturday] but everything felt different,” Cissom said. “I shot 1 over on the front, and after a 30 on the front yesterday, it felt awful.
“You can’t win it on the first day, but you can lose it on the second.”
Maybe you can win it on the first day.
David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...