Middle Tennessee State assistant coach Payne Denman wins the Tennessee Amateur
Payne Denman (Tennessee State Golf Association Photo)
Payne Denman (Tennessee State Golf Association Photo)

Whenever a golfer he is coaching tries to question his credentials, Payne Denman can now point to his Tennessee Amateur trophy.

Denman, the assistant golf coach at Middle Tennessee State, won the Tennessee Amateur by four shots at Tennessee National Golf Club in Loudon, Tenn.

Denman finished an impressive 18-under with rounds of 70-68-64-68. 

“I felt like the first two days, I played equally as well, and I actually left the course from the first two rounds a little frustrated because I knew I played so much better than my score,” Denman said.

He added, “I still had good scores, but I knew that if I could just eliminate the rusty mistakes and get some putts to fall, a number was out there. Fortunately, I just kept believing, and it happened.”

Even though he was posting an incredibly low number, he knew that a 64 was out there for anyone in the field.

“For me, I just tried to keep the pedal down,” Denman said. “I didn't look at the leaderboard at all. In my mind, I am playing the golf course, and I am trying to shoot as low as possible”. 

He added, “I just wanted to stick to it and give myself as many birdie looks as possible and let the chips fall as they may.”

He entered the final round with a one-shot lead over Cameron Tankersley and was anything but comfortable. 

“I was under the assumption that somebody was going to shoot 64 or 65 tomorrow, and I would have to do it again,” Denman said. “That was the mindset I was approaching it with.” 

Tankersley finished in solo second place at 14-under, and Haden Maxwell and John Houk finished T3 at 11-under. Sheldon McKnight finished T5 at 10-under to round out the top five.

Denman added, "I tried to just stay focused and into each shot and not get too ahead of myself. It was a surreal feeling on No. 18, and I felt like I could finally breathe."

It was a good week for Middle Tennessee State, as five golfers played in the championship, all making the cut.

“They waited around the green until I finished, and that was pretty special,” Denman said about his golfers.

“I definitely like to think I might use it as bragging rights every now and again,” Denman added with a laugh.

Denman will now head back to the U.S. Amateur, where he qualified last year. 

Results: Tennessee State Amateur
1TNPayne DenmanMurfreesboro, TN20070-68-64-68=270
2TNCameron TankersleyDickson, TN10069-67-67-71=274
T3TNHaden MaxwellSoddy Daisy, TN5066-69-75-67=277
T3TNJohn HoukEtowah, TN5068-69-70-70=277
5TNSheldon McKnightMurfreesboro, TN5069-71-67-71=278

View full results for Tennessee State Amateur

ABOUT THE Tennessee State Amateur

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. An 18-hole stroke play qualifier is required for those who do not meet the exemption criteria. Format consists of 72 holes of stroke play with a cut to the low 60 and ties after the second round.

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