Ryan Terry storms back to win Spirit of America Golf Classic
Ryan Terry (Max Cohan, WAAY 31 News)
Ryan Terry (Max Cohan, WAAY 31 News)

Ryan Terry wasn't one of the favorites heading into the final round of the 57th Daikin Spirit of America Golf Classic in Decatur, Alabama. Sitting at 1-over for the 72-hole event, Terry trailed leaders Eric Boutwell and Justin Burroughs by a full six shots.

But the former Lipscomb golfer from Nashville -- now a 31-year-old mid-amateur with many wins under his belt -- took a page from Jack Nicklaus' playbook as he pondered his final-round chances.

"I thought if I could shoot 65 or so, that would at least make the leaders have to shoot under par to beat me," said Terry.

Terry's prediction was right on the money. Having played the tournament ten times or more, he knew his capabilities. Terry knows how to make putts on the Bermudagrass greens at Burningtree Country Club; he only needed to hit more of them to get the red numbers going.

Ryan Terry
"I always putt those green well, but the ball striking just wasn’t there the first three rounds," he said. "The last round I hit it a little bit better, and I was able to capitalize on a lot of 6-15 foot birdie putts."

When he scored one better than his target number of 65, Terry could only wait and watch the final four groups try and finish at his number (6-under) or better. Nobody did.

But this wasn't a normal wait of 30 minutes. Terry had finished before a weather delay as thunderstorms moved through the area, and by the time the leaders got back onto the course to finish, a full two hours would pass. Talk about nerve-wracking.

Muscle Shoals native Hunter Battles finished second at 5-under, while Jack Tanner and Adam Coull (both of Australia) and Eric Boutwell of Russellville, Alabama (the third-round co-leader) finished tied third at 4-under.

Terry will look to keep his momentum at Burningtree later in the week (and potentially earn a trip to Cherry Hills in Denver) when the course hosts U.S. Amateur qualifying.


A chip-in for birdie on No. 3 got my round going. I then birdied the par 5 7th and another birdie on No. 9 capped a solid front nine. The front nine always plays tough, so I knew playing it in 32 would pick up a few strokes for sure.

I birdied No. 11 to get to 4-under on the day, and then we had a weather delay. I was able to see the leaderboard, and I saw the leader played the front in 1-over. So, at that point, I was in 3rd and only one stroke back.

That was a good reset for me, and I knew if I could go out and make 3-4 birdies to finish the round, I would put some pressure on the final groups. After about 40 minutes, we resumed play and birdied the par-5 13th to get to 5-under. I had a big par save from 15 feet on No. 15, and then I birdied the par-5 16th and the 17th to get to 7-under on the day.

On No. 18, my drive found a divot, but I hit a great approach to about 8 feet. I was directly above the hole, though; that green is the most severe on the course. I couldn’t get that putt to fall but I felt good about my position with the bogey-free 64.

Four groups were behind me, and about 20 minutes after I finished, we had another weather delay. When the last group was on No. 16 tee, I was two shots clear, but there were four players with a chance to make two birdies to finish and catch me. This delay was an hour long, so it was a long sweat and wait than most cases. Once play resumed, only one player was able to get to 5-under and the 6-under total I posted held up.

Results: Spirit of America
1TNRyan TerryNashville, TN30072-71-71-64=278
2ALHunter BattlesTuscumbia, AL20069-70-70-70=279
T3AustraliaJack TannerAustralia10067-70-77-66=280
T3AustraliaAdam CoullAustralia10066-73-71-70=280
T3ALEric BoutwellRussellville, AL10070-66-72-72=280

View full results for Spirit of America

ABOUT THE Spirit of America

The Spirit of America Golf Classic is Burningtree Country Club's long-running, fundraising tournament held annually in conjunction with Decatur’s Spirit of America Festival, which itself is one of the largest, free Fourth of July festivals in the south. Established in 1967, this unique "college team and individual" format event has been home to collegiate players and top amateur players from across the nation. The format is 72-holes of stroke play, with a 54-hole collegiate team division. The "Spirit" tournament boasts many top graduates, like 1995 Champion-turned-PGA tour player Heath Slocum, and 1989 Junior Champion-turned-PGA tour player Stewart Cink.

Starting in 2020 the golf tournament will be a coed event. The plan is to have 30 two-woman teams and 30 two- man teams. The women’s teams will be invited and not have to pay an entry fee.

View Complete Tournament Information

Latest in 

Amateurgolf.com, Inc.
6965 El Camino Real 105-631
Carlsbad, CA 92009

Instagram X Facebook YouTube