GALLATIN – One of the strongest tournament fields in Tennessee Senior Match Play history has whittled itself down to the four most decorated golfers competing.
The bracket portion of the 15th annual championship went from 16 players to four on Thursday at The Club at Fairvue Plantation. The semifinals are set for Friday morning, with Tim Jackson (Williston) and Jeff Golliher (Knoxville) meeting on one side, and Danny Green (Jackson) facing Steve Golliher (Powell) on the other.
The four semifinalists have combined for 48 Tennessee Golf Association tournament championships. Jackson is the all-time career leader with 19 wins, followed closely by Green with 18. Steve Golliher has seven on his resume, while his brother has four.
The winners of the two semifinal matches will square off in the afternoon for the crown.
“The four of us have played against each other a lot,” said Jeff Golliher, who won the Tennessee State Four-Ball with his brother in 1985, 88 and 98, and added a Tennessee Mid-Amateur title in 2009.
“We’ll just have to see what happens,” he added. “(Tim and I) haven’t played match play much. Obviously we’ve played a lot of medal. I’ve played Danny more in match play than I have Tim, but I’ve played a lot with Tim. He’s obviously a great player and we’ll just have to get out there and see what we can do.”
Jeff Golliher, the No. 4 seed in the bracket, was two down in his quarterfinal match against fifth-seeded Tom Paulson as action moved to the 14th. Golliher won that hole and then pulled even on No. 17.
Paulson, one of two players out of the host course to make the quarterfinals, had a sizable advantage off the tee on the par-five, 18th, but his second shot went out of bounds and Golliher made a safe par to advance.
“I didn’t hit it very good this afternoon,” Golliher said. “I shouldn’t have won the match. I was supposed to lose that match. I got lucky, but that’s the way it goes. Sometimes that happens.”
Jackson, the top seed in the tournament, survived his round of 16 match against 2010 tournament champion Thomas Baird (Signal Mountain) with an up-and-down birdie on No. 18 to win 1-up.
Jackson then dominated his afternoon quarterfinal pairing with a 7&5 win over No. 9 James Fender (Limestone).
Green, the No. 2 seed, won both of his Thursday matches comfortably, topping No. 15 Doug Harris (Franklin) 4&3 and then No. 7 David Salyers (Jackson) 3&2.
Green is coming off a memorable 2017 season in which he claimed both the Tennessee Senior Amateur and Senior Four-Ball titles, but he has never won a TGA match play tournament.
He has teamed up with his semifinal opponent, Steve Golliher, to win the Tennessee Senior Four-Ball four of the past five years.
Steve Golliher, the sixth seed, recorded a 4&3 win over No. 11 Bryan Rodgers (Knoxville) in the round of 16, and then beat Ted Fellman, also a member at The Club at Fairvue Plantation, 3&2 in the quarterfinals.
Earlier in the day, Fellman dispatched of 2016 Tennessee Senior Match Play champion Bob Rice (Pikeville) 2&1.
In the Tennessee Super Senior Match Play Championship, also being conducted at The Club at Fairvue Plantation this week, the field was reduced from eight to the two championship contenders on Thursday.
Sixth-seeded Doug Ryerson (Mt. Juliet) defeated No. 2 Mike Nixon (Nashville) 3&2 in the semifinals, while fourth-seeded Brian Schnabel (Gallatin) edged No. 1 Jack Ramsey (Germantown) 2&1.
Ryerson went 20 holes in his morning match against defending tournament champion Ed Link (Memphis). He won it when he holed out for eagle on the par five, No. 2.
Schnabel also had a close quarterfinal match, getting by Larry McGill (Ooltewah) 1-up.
15TH ANNUAL TENNESSEE SENIOR MATCH PLAY
Round of 16
No. 1 Tim Jackson def. No. 16 Thomas Baird, 1-up
No. 9 James Fender def. No. 8 Greg Guinn, 3&2
No. 4 Jeff Golliher def. No. 13 Stewart Lawwill, 4&3
No. 5 Tom Paulsen def. No. 12 Mike Poe, 3&2
No. 2 Danny Green def. No. 15 Doug Harris, 4&3
No. 7 Doug Salyers def. No. 10 Tom Schreiner, 1-up
No. 14 Ted Fellman def. No. 3 Bob Rice, 2&1
No. 6 Steve Golliher def. No. 11 Bryan Rodgers, 4&3
Round of 8
No. 1 Tim Jackson def. No. 9 James Fender, 7&5
No. 4 Jeff Golliher def. No. 5 Tom Paulsen, 1-up
No. 2 Danny Green def. No. 7 David Salyers, 3&2
No. 6 Steve Golliher def. No. 14 Ted Fellman, 3&2
No. 1 Tim Jackson vs. No. 4 Jeff Golliher, May 4 at 8 a.m.
No. 2 Danny Green vs. No. 6 Steve Golliher, 8:15 a.m.
The winners of the two matches will meet Friday afternoon for the championship
2ND ANNUAL TENNESSEE SUPER SENIOR MATCH PLAY
Round of 8
No. 1 Jack Ramsey def. No. 8 Ronnie Law, 4&3
No. 4 Brian Schnabel def. No. 5 Larry McGill, 1-up
No. 2 Mike Nixon def. No. 7 Howard Lomax, 3&2
No. 6 Doug Ryerson def. No. 3 Ed Link, 20 holes
No. 4 Brian Schnabel def. No. 1 Jack Ramsey, 2&1
No. 6 Doug Ryerson def. No. 2 Mike Nixon, 3&2
No. 4 Brian Schnabel vs. No. 6 Doug Ryerson, May 4 at 8:30 a.m.