Braxton Hunter has been a member of Holston Hills Country Club since the day the day of his birth.
He grew up at the Knoxville course.
He learned to chip, pitch and putt under the tutelage of head golf professional Chris Dibble.
Tuesday, Hunter used all the knowledge he learned from Dibble and his years playing at Tennessee Tech to win the Ira Templeton Chattanooga Open at Creek's Bend Golf Club. He won the championship division with a 4-under-par 136 over two days to beat Audie Johnson of Lebanon, Tenn., by two strokes. Chattanooga Golf and Country Club assistant Matt Brock placed third.
Amateur Steve Golliher won the senior division with a 7-under 133, beating Signal Mountain resident Tom Baird by five strokes.
"I dreamed of playing on the PGA Tour but I wasn't sure I was good enough," Hunter said. "But I knew that I wanted to play for money."
Said Dibble, who tied for seventh at 140: "He grew up at Holston Hills and he's worked there pretty much all of his life. He's been a talented player all of his life."
Tuesday's win at the rain-soaked course with excellent and new Bermuda-grass greens provided the student a chance to beat his teacher and boss.
"He's one of my great friends," Hunter said. "I'm a little competitive in that I want to beat everybody."
Heavy rains over the weekend and again Monday forced tournament officials to start the tournament on the sixth hole, a par-3 over water. Hunter scored a double-bogey there.
"That wasn't a very comfortable show for me," he said. "Maybe there were a little nerves because I hadn't been leading a tournament in a long while, and my two-shot lead went away in about two minutes."
But Hunter held on to win as the rest of the field faded.
"I always had the dream of playing on the PGA Tour," Hunter said. "But my career earnings could only buy a couple tanks of gas."
Contact David Uchiyama at email@example.com or 423-757-6484. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/UchiyamCTFP.
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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