CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (July 22, 2013) -- Tim Jackson of Germantown, Tenn. has taken the lead at the Chattanooga Choo Choo Invitational at Council Fire Golf Club with a 5-under 66.
Jackson, 54, made 7 birdies and 2 bogeys on the day, with two of his bogeys coming on the 16th and 18th holes (which were playing third toughest, and toughest respectively among the field).
The scoring average on No. 18, a 486 yard monster of a par-4, (that plays as a par four for the members) was .8 over par. "Players can hit their drives to inside of 200 yards, and the green is very receptive to a long shot," said tournament director Chris Schmidt. "But we've got the bermuda rough at about four inches, and the fairway gets pretty tight at around 175 yards from the green."
Tournament leader Jackson is a legendary member of the "plus-50" set of amateurs who can still compete with the young guns. Or senior pros for that matter. At the U.S. Senior Open in 2009, Jackson shot 66-67 the first two days, the two lowest rounds by an amateur in the event’s history.
He eventually finished 11th with a 282 total, the lowest 72-hole score by an amateur. The next two years he also made the cut. To put that into perspective, this year 28 amateurs were in the final field, and only Doug Hanzel of Georgia made the cut. Jackson has also been Tenn. player-of-the-year an amazing 10 times.
He takes a one shot lead over Ben Wolcott into the second round of this 54-hole event. Wolcott is the top ranked state junior player from Burns, Tennessee who will be a freshman at Ole Miss this Fall.
The inaugural field is mostly Tennessee and Georgia players, but Schmidt expects that to change in the coming years as the word about the tournament gets out.
"We're really pleased with the field and the golf course. It's setup perfectly for a tournament with the new Bermuda greens running around 12 with no grain. We've also received great support from the local golf community."
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