published Sunday, May 15th, 2011

Jaeger lined up to smash record

A historic Chattanooga-area golf record seems about to be broken.

Actually, it could be destroyed, annihilated, obliterated by University of Tennessee at Chattanooga junior Stephan Jaeger today at the Signal Mountain Golf and Country club.

Legendary local golfers Ira Templeton and Ed Brantly — both in the Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame — share the Signal Mountain Invitational tournament record of 12-under-par 201.

Jaeger is 15 under with a round to go.

The former Baylor School star shot an 8-under 63 on Friday and followed it with a 64 Saturday afternoon.

“A lot of really good players have played in this tournament like Mr. Templeton, Mr. Brantly and Mr. [Lew] Oehmig,” Jaeger said. “It would be cool to have the record. But I have one more round, so I don’t want to quick-call it.

“I’m going to see how it goes.”

Templeton set the tournament standard in 1954. Brantly matched it 10 years later. That was 47 years ago.

Jaeger will play in the final group with Chris Schmidt, who shot a 65 Saturday and is 9 under for the tournament, and UTC freshman Chris Robb, who is 7 under after a 66. They’ll begin playing for the championship about 3 p.m.

“I know the record is 201 because I shot 202 last year and was one behind,” said Jaeger, who out to defend his title. “My confidence is very high. I’m going to try and do it again.”

Thousands of golfers have played in the Signal Mountain Invitational in its 75-year history.

A few are Tennessee Golf Hall of Famers such as Templeton, Brantly, Oehmig, Polly Boyd and Danny Green. Larry White, Harold Lane and Michael Morrison each has won the tournament at least twice, including Morrison most recently in 2008.

None have broke the mark of 201 on the short mountain course which rewards accuracy off the tee, good chipping and a gentle putting stroke.

“If he can play good tomorrow and get the record, that would be fantastic,” said UTC coach Mark Guhne, who has an appreciation for area golf history. “It’s so good to see him playing like this and having fun.”

Jaeger’s former high school teammate Ryan Thornton sauntered out to watch his buddy play a few holes on the back side after finishing his own round. He didn’t need to peek at a scorecard to know Jaeger was playing well.

“You can tell he’s playing well because he wants to putt right away,” Thornton said after Jaeger chipped from beside the green on the 288-yard 11th hole. “He wants the birdie every time.”

about David Uchiyama...

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 ...

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