Event: 50th Annual Tennessee Challenge Cup Matches
Host Site: The Honors Course – Ooltewah, Tennessee
Playing Dates: October 23-24
Amateurs Reclaim Tennessee Challenge Cup Matches
Ooltewah, Tenn: The Tennessee Challenge Cup Matches, which are jointly conducted by the Tennessee Golf Association and Tennessee Section PGA, annually pit the top 16 amateurs and top 16 PGA professionals in the state of Tennessee in a Ryder Cup style format. The morning session on Monday was set to feature eight Four-Ball matches. After a rain soaked Monday morning at The Honors Course, it was determined that 54 holes of competition was not going to be possible in late October over two days of play. The Committee determined the foursomes (alternate shot) competition would need to be cancelled. With the updated schedule, Monday afternoon featured eight Four-Ball matches. Play on Tuesday would then be comprised of sixteen Singles matches.
For the Amateurs, Four teams were able to secure a point. Ryan Greer with Craig Smith, Rob Garland with Warren Cheney, John Swoboda with Nick Garretson, and Jeff Golliher with Danny Green all gave the amateurs one point each in Monday’s Four-Ball Matches. For the professionals Jared Melson with Bill Breen, Johan Kok with Matt Brock, and Mark Houser with Richard Rebne each secured a point. The only match in Monday’s slate that was halved was between Loren Personett with Scott Moran (pros) and Matt Cooper with Whit Turnbow (am). After Monday’s play the score was the amateurs 4.5 to the professional 3.5.
Monday evening featured some serious strategizing between amateur captain Buzz Fly and professional captain Jim Vernon. The two consulted their teams and thought long and hard about how to set the stage just right for Tuesday’s singles matches. 16 points were available and the amateurs would need 8 of them to secure the Cup.
State Amateur champion John Swoboda got the amateurs off to a hot start in his 4&3 victory over professional Scott Masters. Warren Cheney soon followed with a 6&5 victory over professional Bobby Cochran. Nick Garretson kept the trend rolling with his 5&4 win over professional Matt Brock. Craig Smith kept the amateur wins coming in with his 5&4 win over Johan Kok. The professionals would soon get on the board with a 5&3 win by professional Scott Moran over Lee Maxwell. Professional Richard Rebne defeated Bob Rice 3&1. The tide would again sway back towards the amateurs as Rob Garland won his match 2&1 over professional Glenn Hudson. Steve Golliher won his match 1up over professional Mark Houser and once his brother Jeff Golliher defeated professional Audie Johnson 1up, the amateurs needed only a half point to claim eight points on Tuesday. That honor fell to Whit Turnbow who would win his match 2&1 for the decisive point taking the amateurs over the hump to defeat the professionals. As the remaining matches rolled in professional Loren Personett defeated Philip Lee 1 up to give the professional another point. The remaining matches on the course were halved by Gentlemen’s agreement and the tally on the day resulted in 10.5 points for the amateurs and 5.5 points for the professionals.
The final total for the 2017 Tennessee Challenge Cup Matches was Amateurs 15, Professionals 9. The Tennessee Golf Association and Tennessee Section PGA would like to thank The Honors Course for their tremendous job in hosting this year’s event.
About the Matches: The Amateur Team is selected from the Tennessee Golf Association’s Amateur and Senior Amateur Player of the Year Lists. The Professional Team is selected from the Tennessee Section PGA’s Professional and Senior Professional Player of Year lists. Each team of 16 includes six seniors age 50 and older. Listed below are the individuals who will be representing the amateur and professional teams this year.
The first Tennessee Challenge Cup matches were held in the fall of 1968 at Old Hickory Country Club where the Amateurs prevailed. The long-standing competition was the result of the efforts by Old Hickory amateur John Deal, Cookeville amateur Bobby Greenwood, and Cookeville professional Hubie Smith, then president of the TPGA. The Professionals now lead the overall series 29 to 21.