John Swoboda, the 2017 Tennessee Amateur champion
NASHVILLE, TN (August 11, 2017) - Belle Meade Country played host to one of the most compelling final rounds in the Tennessee Amateur Championship history Friday afternoon. As the fourth and final round unfolded, five different players spent time in first place.
William Nottingham, who entered the final round with a one-shot lead, failed to create separation as he started the day with four pars. While the Clemson golfer was working for pars, Austin Carter found two birdies on his first four holes to join the lead at six-under-par.
Related:Nottingham Maintains Slim 54 Hole Lead at the Tennessee Am
The last three holes of the front nine changed the dynamic of the championship.
Carter made three consecutive birdies to race out in front, turning at eight-under-par for the week. Nottingham matched the birdie on No. 7 then found trouble on No. 8. The three-time TGA champion made a triple-bogey then made bogey on No. 9, turning at two-under-par.
Just when it appeared Carter was going to create some separation, the recent high school graduate bogeyed Nos. 11-12 taking the lead down to six-under-par.
Brayden Garrison made birdie on Nos. 14 and 15 to take the lead at seven-under-par. Garrison’s tee shot on No. 16 hit hard off the green leading to a bogey. Another bogey on No. 17 took Garrison out of contention.
Meanwhile, John Swoboda, who was in the final pairing, three-under-par and five shots back at the turn, found a birdie on No. 15. “I made a nice little putt on No. 15 and decided to check the leaderboard for the first time,” Swoboda said. The 24 year-old found the motivation he needed. “I knew I had to get on a hot streak,” Swoboda said.
Swoboda did get hot, picking up two more birdies on Nos. 16-17 to join Carter at six-under-par heading to No. 18.
Carter found the greenside bunker on the finishing hole but hit a splendid shot to inside five-feet. Unfortunately, the par putt slid by. Back in the fairway Swoboda changed his game plan.
“Once I hit a good tee shot, I was contemplating firing at the pin or going for the middle of the green. Once I found out I needed a par it was a no brainer,” Swoboda said. The Mount Juliet resident executed his plan to perfection, finding the middle of the green. A nice lag putt left just over a foot for the win. Swoboda knocked it in and became the 102nd Tennessee Amateur Champion.
“This is the biggest win I have had. I have played amateur tournaments the last six years. I did not play college golf. I had a nice year last year but this is definitely the biggest win.” Swoboda said. “I had ups and downs this week but going into today I knew I was going to win this thing,” Swoboda said in closing.
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ABOUT THE Tennessee State Amateur
Applications are open to amateurs who possess an
USGA/GHIN Handicap Index of 8.0 or less from a
TGA member club or
course. An 18-hole stroke play qualifier is required
those who do not meet the exemption criteria.
consists of 72 holes of stroke play with a cut to the
60 and ties after the second round.
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