Jake Reeves, Randy Helton lead Ira Templeton Chattanooga Open

Jake Reeves, Randy Helton lead Ira Templeton Chattanooga Open

June 12th, 2012 by David Uchiyama in Sportlocal

Jake Reeves

Jake Reeves

Photo by Lido Vizzutti

Golfers knew they'd have to think a little more during the Ira Templeton Chattanooga Open.

Then more than three inches of rain fell at Creeks Bend Golf Club, forcing the 80 participants to think about more than the course's different putting surfaces.

The greens on the first nine holes are Bermuda and less than a year old. The back nine greens are bentgrass and older than a few of the participants. They will be converted to Bermuda in less than a month.

It's as different as playing one set of tennis on grass and then switching to hardcourt for the second set.

"I made some good birdie putts on the Bermuda, and I made nothing on the bentgrass side," said Jake Reeves, an assistant pro at Holston Hills, who leads the regular division after shooting a 3-under-par 67 on Monday.

"Putts were so much slower on the bentgrass," said Reeves, 41, who has played on various levels ranging from the 2000 U.S. Open to mini-tours that no longer exist. "It was tough to get the right speed."

The rains made judging the speed of putts more difficult. The weather also forced a shotgun start at 2 p.m., instead of everybody beginning on the first hole.

Some golfers, including Lebanon Country Club head pro Audie Johnson, started on bentgrass for a few holes, then played nine on the young greens, then crossed the parking lot back to old greens.

"I absolutely had to think a little more about it on chip shots and around the green," said Johnson, who is in a five-man tie for second at 68. "I had one shot on the back spin back about 30 feet from where it landed. The new greens were more consistent."

Johnson is tied with amateurs Mike Markiewicz and David Vick as well as Casey Flenniken and Loren Personett. Amateur Ray Morton is two shots back.

The Chattanooga-area contingent is led by amateurs Jeremy Lawson, Keoni Vidrine, Chris Schmidt and Caleb Roberson, as well as pros Hamilton Brown, Bruce Etter and William Ladd, who all are in a 12-way tie for 12th at 1 over.

Randy Helton, head pro at Riverbend Country Club in Murfreesboro, leads the senior division after shooting a 4-under 66. He leads by two over amateur Jim Brown of Loudon.

"You have to adjust how you attack the flag," Helton said. "For this tournament, you just hope everybody else is more stupid than you are. You have to outsmart them."

Contact David Uchiyama at duchiyama@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6484. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP.