Matt King (TGA/Twitter photo)
Sure, Matt King had the lead all week at Grasslands Golf Club in Gallatin, Tenn., but his run to the Tennessee Mid-Am title wasn’t nearly as easy as that would make it seem. King pulled off the victory on Saturday, but only after a birdie on the final hole and three additional holes.
King opened with rounds of 64-71 to secure the lead entering the final round, but an even-par 72 opened the door for his chasers. Defending champion Ryan Terry of Nashville and Wes Spannuth of Gallatin fired rounds of 70 and 68, respectively, to pull even with King at 9 under.
Interestingly, King only ended up at 9 under because of a last-minute birdie. He had been 2 under after the 14th hole, but a bogey at No. 15 and a double bogey at No. 16 threatened to derail his whole tournament. Luckily the birdie at the par-4 18th earned him a spot in the playoff.
He fought back tears after the winning putt. He’s been playing Tennessee golf since a junior.
“It’s been 21 years I’ve been playing tournaments all across the state and this is my first big state event win,” King told the Tennessee Golf Association after his win. “I was just thinking about my dad, thinking about my Pappaw. He passed away six years ago and I was just thinking about them, especially in the playoff. I’ve won some tournaments but I’ve never won a big one. The emotions just hit me, and I do it for them because they were the ones who taught me how to play golf.”
ROUND TWO RECAP
Matt King maintained his lead at the Tennessee Mid-Amateur on Friday, even as his score got higher and his chasers’ scores dove lower. King, of Knoxville, followed an opening 64 at Grasslands Golf and Country Club in Gallatin, Tenn., with a 71. At 9 under, he is now two shots ahead of defending champion Ryan Terry.
King didn’t have a bogey on Thursday, but on Friday, he made one on the second hole. He followed with two birdies in the next five holes then parred out for his 1-under 71.
Terry, meanwhile, had a bit more of an erratic day. After a double bogey on No. 2 and an eagle on No. 3, he made three birdies in the next four holes before settling in with a few pars. He played the back nine in 2 under to reach 67 and make up some ground.
Terry, of Nashville, is 7 under.
Hometown player Wes Spannuth is third at 5 under followed by Knoxville’s Ryan Greer at 4 under.
ROUND ONE RECAP
The top of the Tennessee Mid-Amateur leaderboard is covered in red. So far, Matt King, with an 8-under 64, leads the pack at Tennessee Grasslands G&CC in Gallatin, Tenn.
Behind King, the next eight players also went under par on Thursday. What ultimately separated King, from Knoxville, was his perfection. He didn’t make a single bogey in his opening round and made five birdies in a six-hole stretch on the front nine.
Among King’s chasers, Ryan Terry and Lawrence Largent also went bogey-free. Both had rounds of 2-under 70. Terry is also the defending champion in this event.
The closest chaser is David Watts, who had a 5-under 67 that included three birdies in his first four holes.
Anthony McElroy is third at 3 under.
View results for Tennessee Mid-Amateur
ABOUT THE Tennessee Mid-Amateur
Open to amateurs age 25 and older who are
of a TGA Club. Qualifying is required for those
not meet the exemption criteria. Format consists
holes of stroke play with a cut following the second round.
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