Rende second, low pro in Open

Rende second, low pro in Open

May 18th, 2012 by David Uchiyama in Sportlocal

Staff Photo by John Rawlston/Chattanooga Times Free Press Former UTC golfer Derek Rende hits a tee shot as he plays a practice round at the Honors Course in 2010.

Derek Rende collected the biggest check of his professional golfing career Thursday. But he wanted a trophy, too.

The former University of Tennessee at Chattanooga golfer finished second in the Tennessee Open behind amateur Craig Smith of Nashville by one stroke.

Because amateurs cannot accept cash prizes, Rende won $10,000 as the low pro for shooting a 9-under-par 204 at Gaylord Springs Golf Links in Nashville.

"I went up there to win the whole tournament, but I just won the tournament within the tournament," said Rende, who won the Open in 2007 as an amateur. "I play because I want to win, and there's no other feeling like coming out on top."

Rende, who opened the 54-hole tournament with a 64, had an 18-foot birdie putt on the last hole Thursday that could have tied Smith, who recently played at Middle Tennessee. But it missed.

"It's a nice check and will give me confidence because I'm playing well," he said. "This experience will help me in future final rounds, and hopefully I keep the momentum."

The Honors Course member Tim Jackson from Germantown, Tenn., finished fourth at 210. Another former Moc, Bryce Ledford, finished seventh and cashed a check. Current UTC reserve player Alex Ratliff tied for eighth at even par.

Amateur Steve Johnson of Lookout Mountain tied for 33rd with Honors head pro Henrik Simonsen. Area golfers Matt Robertson, Chris Schmidt, Brooks Thomas, Richard Spangler, Bruce Bowen and Gordon Hulgan made the cut but finished outside the top 40.