Nashville – The second major of the 2019 season was one to remember with the Yamaha Players Championship. Harpeth Hills Golf Course proved to be a compelling test for the competitors in its first year hosting the event. Playing at just 6,899 yards, the quick, subtle greens and tough angles off the tee provide this course with some teeth. The course was in great shape and provided the players with a great test of golf for the two-day event. We saw some great scores throughout the tournament with five 65’s, tying the course record at Harpeth Hills.
The first day of play had an average score of 76, with the steady wind adding even more for the players to contend with. Two players separated themselves from the field in the Overall Regular Division on this tough day. Ryan Terry (a) continued his great play by firing an impressive 65 (-7). Terry made eight birdies on his round, capped off by three in a row on holes 15-17. He controlled his ball very well with a lone bogey on the Par-4 10th hole. Walt Chapman, PGA was right on Terry’s heals as he fired a 6-under 66. Chapman made four birdies on the front and three on the back, with his lone bogey coming on the Par-3 11th hole. He took advantage of the back-to-back Par-5s on 16 and 17 by birdieing both to cap off his 66.
In the Overall Senior Division, Bill Breen, PGA and Audie Johnson, PGA each fired a fantastic 4-under 68. Breen had a steady front nine with two birdies and seven pars. On the back nine, he had some back and forth with a six hole stretch without a par. He would go birdie, bogey, birdie, birdie, bogey, birdie on holes twelve through seventeen. Johnson would have a much steadier first round. He made three birdies and one bogey on the front 9, and a clean back 9 with two birdies. Jared Melson, PGA and Ron Waters (a) were only two shots back after each carding a 70 (-2) on the first day.
Tight leaderboards in both Divisions and another day of great weather set up Day 2 for an exciting finish. Day 2 saw better scoring with an average of 74. In the Overall Regular Division, Ryan Terry (a) backed up his Round 1 65 with another impressive 7-under 65 in Round 2. He was consistent in Round 2 with the same 8 birdies to one bogey as Round 1. It came down to the wire as he was one up over Walt Chapman, PGA after fifteen holes. Chapman’s bogey on 17 to Terry’s birdie would prove to be the deciding factor. Terry would finish the tournament at -14, three shots clear of Chapman at -11.
The Overall Senior Division had a lot of fireworks in the final round. Knowing he needed to go low after an even-par 72 in Round 1, Ray Morton (a) delivered a 7-under 65 to come from four shots back. He was led by an eagle at the 556-yard Par-5 5th hole. He paired his eagle with six birdies and a bogey to finish his comeback and finish the two days at (-7). The Round 1 leaders Bill Breen, PGA and Audie Johnson, PGA couldn’t keep up with Morton. Breen shot a 1-under 71 to finish at (-5) and 2 shots back and Johnson shot a 4-over (76) to finish in fourth.
Along with the Overall winners, there were other Divisions being contested over the two-day event. Low Professional – Walt Chapman, PGA, Low Senior Professional – Bill Breen, PGA, Low Amateur – Ryan Terry (a), and Low Senior Amateur – Ray Morton (a) were awarded for their play.
In the True Temper Professional Skins Game, there were two skins in Round 1 and two in Round 2. Bill Breen, PGA birdied the Par-3 3rd hole and Audie Johnson, PGA birdied the Par-4 7th to win on Day 1. Casey Flenniken, PGA chipped in for eagle on the Par-5 8th and Audie Johnson, PGA won again with a birdie at the Par-4 18th to take the Day 2 skins.
The Tennessee PGA would like to thank Kevin Forte, PGA and his staff for their help in running the event and getting the course in great shape. We would also like to thank Shannon Caverly, PGA and Craig Sanford of Yamaha for being the title sponsor and making this tournament possible. Also, thank you to Levelwear and Angela Lorente of Lorente Golf for sponsoring the event. Thank you to all the players that participated and congratulations to all the winners.