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.
View results for Tennessee Match Play
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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