BEAUFORT, South Carolina (Sept. 14, 2014) — Three teams started the day tied Sunday after 36-holes of best ball competition at Secession Golf Club, and in the end it was two “late bloomer” amateur golfers who walked away with the title.
Mike Atkeison of Memphis, an engineer by trade who now owns a pest control business, partnered with Jeff Navarre, a home builder in the Nashville area to fashion a 1-under aggregate of 143 on Sunday and a tournament total of 274. That’s 14-under-par and a sign of the excellent play, good weather, and strong level of competition at the Devlin.
But make no mistake, two man aggregate is tough and Atkeison and Navarre, playing with co-leaders Kel Devlin (Bruce’s son) and Kris Devlin (Kel’s son, and Bruce’s grandson) hung tough all day including the 8th hole, when Navarre’s tee shot found the water and he suffered a double bogey.
“After that we saw Mr. Devlin [Bruce] at the turn and he told the whole group we better get moving, because some teams on the course were under par,” said Navarre.
“So I knocked a driver and 3-wood onto the green in two on the 10th and two putted for birdie, and birdied the 11th and we got our momentum back,” added the smooth swinging Atkeison.
Momentum seems to come naturally for the Tennessee boys — they made an amazing eight best-ball birdies in a row from the 5th through 12th holes on Saturday.
Neither Navarre, who called the win “by far the biggest golf accomplishment of my life” nor Atkeison played college golf. They credit lessons and lots of practice with their ability to play scratch golf.
Rick Hare won the title in 2013 with partner Steve Moran. This year Moran wasn’t available, so Hare turned to another fellow member of Champions Golf Club in Houston – George Slade. The two got off to a nice lead after 36-holes but were caught by — get this — another team from Champions, George Adams and Mike Pierce.
And this is where it got interesting.
Hare and Moran won a sudden-death playoff that lasted so long many of the players had showered and headed out. Secession head professional Michael Harmon, when asked for the outcome an hour after the playoff started joked “I followed them for the first four holes, but I think they’re going all 18.”
In fact, Hare and Moran picked up the Saber title with a par on the 6th hole.
Note in the photos the Saber trophies they won for their division, as well as the Canon trophies won by champions Atkeison and Navarre. There is a great deal of history in Beaufort and at Secession. The secession papers (the South from the North, as in the civil war) were signed in this town.
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