Greer wins first Tennessee Golf Association title at Honors

Greer wins first Tennessee Golf Association title at Honors

August 30th, 2014 by David Uchiyama in Sports - Golf

Ryan Greer tees off during the final round of the Tennessee Mid-Amateur Championship golf tournament at The Honors Course in Ooltewah.

Photo by Doug Strickland /Times Free Press.

Ryan Greer had one runner-up finish in a Tennessee Golf Association event on his playing resume.

He now has a win.

Greer won the Tennessee Mid-Amateur championship Friday at The Honors Course in a sudden-death playoff over second-round leader Kevin Watford.

"In 2006 my partner and I lost in the state four-ball on the last hole," said Greer, who lives in Knoxville. "I told [TGA executive] Matt Vanderpool that my dream is to win one TGA event.

"To do it here at the Honors is a dream come true."

Greer shot a 1-under-par 71 and tied Watford at 4 under for the tournament. Craig Smith and Matt Cooper tied for third at 2 under while six-time champion Tim Jackson placed fifth.

"I struggled hitting the ball all week," said Jackson, who played in the final group with Greer and Watford. "I wasn't very sharp.

"It was a death march out there today."

Jackson trailed by three starting the day and trimmed the deficit to one at the turn, but he made four bogeys in his last nine holes.

"I was hitting it right and left," Jackson said. "After a while, that takes a toll on you and it all catches up to you."

Jackson cleaned up his putt on No. 18, setting the stage for Watford and Greer to force the playoff. They both made short par putts after missing longer birdie attempts.

After signing their cards, they headed to No. 1 to determine the champion.

They both found the fairway off the tee. Greer hit his approach a touch long, which left him about 30 feet for birdie. Watford chunked a wedge from 110 yards and left his ball in the rough short of the green. A pitch left him at least 12 feet to save par. The putt rolled by the hole.

The players and a small gallery returned to the scoreboard area, where Greer was greeted by his wife, Jenny, and children Amelia and Walker.

"I had no idea they were coming," Greer said. "I knew Dad and a couple friends were. It was great to see Jenny and the kids."

They all posed for pictures with the trophy -- one that Watford almost claimed. He began the day with a three-shot lead on Jackson and Greer. He shot even on the front nine, but three-putt bogeys on Nos. 10 and 11 dropped him to 4 under for the tournament.

"Those were the dagger," Watford said. "After that I hung on with no bogeys. But no birdies either."

Greer took the lead by one with a birdie on No. 12, but he gave it back with a bogey on No. 13.

"I knew that bogey putt was one I had to make," said Greer, who played for the late Bobby Nichols at Tennessee Tech. "Thankfully it found the center of the cup."

Greer, 31, dropped one behind Watford after a bogey on No. 15 when he couldn't get up-and-down from behind the green. But being the longest hitter off the tee of the three in the final group, Greer knew he'd have a chance for birdie on the par-5 17th. He accomplished that goal and tied Watford.

"Ryan can get a little tight, so I just joked with him," said Arthur Long, who in supporting Greer caddied for the first time in his life. "I think I should retire now -- go out on top."

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