OAK RIDGE – Steve Golliher walked off the 18th green at Oak Ridge Country Club on Friday and took a ride up by the clubhouse to tournament scoring.
It turned out to be more of a victory lap.
Golliher had just concluded a record-breaking performance in the Tennessee Senior Amateur. Waiting to congratulate him along the cart path was a group of long-time friends and playing competitors, including his brother Jeff Golliher, Tim Jackson and Danny Green.
It was a special moment for the 63-year-old Knoxville native.
“It was just a great feeling,” said Steve Golliher. “Those guys have won a lot, and it was really special. Probably as special as winning it, to be honest with you.”
Golliher turned in a three-day total of 13-under, 203 to finish four strokes ahead of Tim Jackson, who was surging on the final day of the tournament.
Golliher’s total was the best 54-hole scoring effort in the 48-year history of the tournament, besting the previous record of 207 held by Jay Baumgardner (1993) and Danny Green (2014). Golliher also set a new mark for best 54 holes based on par (-13), as well as the lowest opening 36-hole score (-9).
“It means a lot to me because I hadn’t won one,” Golliher said. “When you beat Tim and Danny and Jeff and all those guys, that’s a tall order. I played well this week. I think I missed five greens and five fairways. I hit it good and I putted it well.”
Golliher played his final 35 holes of the tournament bogey free with 11 birdies. He posted rounds of 69, 66 and 68. Mike Albonetti (Memphis) entered the final round one stroke back of Golliher but finished with a 73 to drop to third place at 7-under, 209.
Jackson – a 20-time TGA champion and the 2016 winner of the tournament – closed with a 65, which tied the tournament record for lowest 18-hole score, but it wasn’t enough. Jackson went 71-71-65 to finish at 9-under, 207.
Jackson chipped in on No. 17 for his final birdie of the day. Golliher was watching from the 16th green and turned to his wife as he walked off: “I said, ‘Kristen, he’s going to make me earn it, and that’s the way it should be’,” Golliher recalled.
The title marks the ninth Tennessee amateur golf title for Golliher. He’s also won the state Senior Four-Ball four times, the state Four-Ball three times, and the state Mid-Amateur in 1996.
It’s been a busy month or so for the champion. He played in the 2018 British Senior Amateur the first week of last month, where he finished T41. He then went to Eugene, Oregon, Aug. 25-30 for the U.S. Senior Amateur. There he placed 15th in the two rounds of stroke play qualifying before being upset in the opening round of match play.
“It’s been hectic,” Golliher said. “We work hard. I believe the only way you are going to be your best is if you dig it out of the dirt. I was tired I was tired coming into this tournament and I was looking forward to it being over.”
“There were a couple of times where I was very tired, particularly in the first round.”
Kenny Wilson of Franklin finished fourth at 5-under, 211. Defending tournament champion Danny Green of Jackson rounded out the top five at 4-under, 212.
COMPLETE SENIOR SCORING FOR ROUND ONE: https://www.golfgenius.com/pages/1633237
COMPLETE SUPER SENIOR SCORING FOR ROUND ONE: https://www.golfgenius.com/pages/1633322
For complete coverage of the event, follow the Tennessee Golf Association on Twitter atwww.twitter.com/tngolf
TENNESSEE SENIOR AMATEUR
AT OAK RIDGE COUNTRY CLUB
Final round – Friday, September 14, 2018
1 Steve Golliher 69-66-68-203
2 Tim Jackson 71-71-65-207
3 Mike Albonetti 70-66-73-209
4 Kenny Wilson 70-71-70-211
5 Danny Green 72-70-70-212
T6 Tom Schreiner 73-70-71-214
T6 John Thomas 71-72-71-214
8 Tim Dinwiddie 71-73-72-216
9 Greg Guinn 75-70-72-217
T10 Jeff Golliher 69-74-75-218
T10 Craig McElhaney 70-73-75-218
T12 Jerry Matthew 71-78-70-219
T12 Scott Patton 70-75-74-219
T14 Arnold Cunningham 71-76-73-220
T14 Ken Lee 74-72-74-220
T16 Bryan Kendrick 70-75-77-222
T16 Phil Powers 77-71-74-222
T16 Bryan Rodgers 71-72-79-222
T16 Gary Simpson 74-72-76-222
T20 Wes Payne 77-70-76-223
T20 Ron Waters 75-74-74-223