Ben Rebne (Chattanooga Choo Choo/Twitter photo)
In the opening round of the Chattanooga Choo Choo Invitational, the most noise came from one particular group – the one that teed off at 8:20 a.m.. That threesome beat the odds on No. 11 at Council Fire Golf Club in Chattanooga, Tenn.
Benjamin Rebne is a local at Council Fire. He should know this course and he showed it. On the par-5 11th on Monday, Rebne made eagle. Interestingly, that eagle wouldn’t stand in the group.
“I already lost the hole before I made the eagle,” said Rebne, a Jack Nicklaus Award finalist from Dalton State College, an NAIA school.
That’s because Jack Herceg, a Dublin, Ohio native who plays for Miami University (Ohio), had already holed out from the fairway for a double eagle. He hit his 4-iron on a rope there but had to walk all the way up to the green to confirm the two.
“It was going right at the pin and I figured it would be pretty good, but there were a couple people up there and I got no applause,” Herceg said. “I was like, maybe it went over the back.”
That left incoming Clemson freshman Carter Pendley, the fourth player in the group.
“I made birdie, I got beat by two,” he joked. “I was the worst score in the group.”
Among the three, Rebne had the best score of the day, a 5-under 67 that left him tied for the lead with Nick Robillard of the University of Alabama Birmingham.
Rebne had a shaky start but a strong finish. He birdied his opening hole, only to double the next one.
“Technically, if you get in the fairway, No. 2 is probably one of the easiest holes out here. So that one hurt,” said Rebne, who should know. “I knew if I got it around even or 1 over going to the back nine, I could still post a decent number. I had some putts fall and hit some shots close.”
Rebne and Robillard have a one-shot lead on a group of four players at 4 under.
Pendley is part of the next group of five men at 3 under. His score was helped considerably by the eight birdies he made, which he hoped he could do again in Round 2.
“I had two three-putts, hit one OB,” Pendley said of the rest of the day. “If we can clean up the scorecard a little bit, we’ll be good to go for the rest of the week.”
As for Herceg, his 2-under 70 left him in an eight-way tie for 13th.
ABOUT THE Chattanooga Choo Choo
54-hole stroke play national invitational with a 90-
player field and no cut. An 18 hole open qualifier is
event for non-exempt players.
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