McKay marks end of long comeback with Tenn. Match Play win
Connor McKay (TGA/Twitter photo)
Connor McKay (TGA/Twitter photo)

Connor McKay’s comeback is notable because of just how far he came. The Knoxville, Tenn., native, who recently finished his senior year at Lipscomb, had hip surgery a year ago. He was in a wheelchair then used crutches – needless to say, golf was out of the question for a few months.

On Saturday, McKay won the Tennessee Match Play Championship at Oak Ridge (Tenn.) Country Club. Talk about a long, determined climb.

There are certainly bigger trophies in amateur golf – the U.S. Amateur, for one – but for McKay, this was the one.

“It’s no U.S. Am, but people don’t understand what I’ve been through over the last year, year and a half. It really actually means the world to me,” he told the Tennessee Golf Association shortly after winning. “A lot of people helped me get here. I had hip surgery, didn’t play for a year, struggled with school, was unable to play for a little bit and then bounced back.”

In the final match against Jack Uselton, a rising junior at Belmont, McKay went 1 up immediately at the first, but had lost his advantage by No. 5 and was 1 down on the sixth tee. It was back and forth until the final few holes. When McKay took a 1-up lead at the 15th, it was the beginning of the end. McKay held that lead as the two tied the final three holes and he eventually won, 1 up.

McKay came in as the No. 13 seed after rounds of 65-73 in stroke-play qualifying. Earlier this year, he tied for 28th at the Florida Azalea.

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ABOUT THE Tennessee Match Play

This match play event adopts the format used by the PGA Tour for the World Golf Championships Match Play tournament. Under this format, a field of 64 players will be divided into 16 groups of four players each. Each group will play a round-robin format with each competitor playing three matches within their group. A player will receive one point for a win, a half point for a tie, and each group’s winner will advance to the round of 16. Applications are open to amateurs who possess an active USGA/GHIN Handicap Index of 8.0 or less from a TGA member club or course.

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