CHATTANOOGA – Ryan Terry had been playing quality golf all summer, but was still in search of that breakthrough win. He got it Saturday afternoon at Black Creek Club.
The former Lipscomb University golfer turned in a record-breaking performance at the Tennessee Mid-Amateur championship, culminating with a final-round 63 that helped him storm back for a five-stroke victory and his first ever Tennessee Golf Association state title.
Terry’s three-day total of 17-under, 199 shattered the previous tournament records (-13, 203) held by Todd Burgan at Cleveland Country Club in 2011. Terry also broke the lowest final round score (66).
“I’ve been playing well and had turned in a few good performances, but I hadn’t been able to breakthrough and win one of these big ones,” Terry said. “It was good to put it all together.”
“It’s definitely some validation that my game can compete at the highest level, especially here in Tennessee. In the state open and state amateur, I played a couple of good rounds and would have one bad one that kept me out of contention. To put three rounds together is a great feeling.”
Terry finished tied for 17th at the Tennessee Open at The Grove back in May and ninth in the Tennessee Amateur at Spring Creek Ranch in August.
At this week’s Mid-Amateur he only played three out of his 54 holes over par. He made one bogey on his way to an opening-round 68. In Friday’s second round, he made eight birdies and a pair of double bogeys.
He encountered no speed bumps on Saturday.
After entering the day at 8-under, three strokes back of leader Josh Wheeler, Terry made five straight pars to begin his round but then heated up with four birdies over the next five holes.
The key hole in that stretch was No. 10 as Terry made a birdie and Wheeler made a double bogey to flip positions on the leaderboard.
Two other players held the lead at some juncture in the final round, including defending tournament champion Matt Cooper and Volunteer High School golf coach Lucas Armstrong.
Cooper birdied three of four holes from 11-14 to move to 13-under for the tournament and was one stroke up on Terry, but Cooper ended with three pars and a bogey.
Terry took advantage by birdieing five of his final six holes, moving in front and never looking back.
“I drove the ball really well,” Terry said. “With these greens, the way they were set up, if you had an iron you could stick it pretty close. I didn’t miss a whole lot of greens and just had to stay patient and wait for some putts to drop.”
Cooper turned in the second-lowest round of the day at 8-under, 64 to finish tied for second at 12-under. Also finishing runner-up was six-time Tennessee Mid-Amateur and two-time U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Tim Jackson.
Jackson entered the final round in third place but took too long to start posting some red numbers on Saturday, parring his first eight holes. He chipped in for eagle on No. 14 to get within three of Terry, but that was as close as he got.
Armstrong came in fourth at 11-under, while Joshua Collins and Wheeler tied for fifth at 10-under.
Rounding out the top ten were Jeff Greeson (-8), Ryan Greer (-7), Dan Crockett (-6) and Ben Glover (-6).