GALLATIN – The storied amateur golfing career of the legendary Tim Jackson added another chapter to it Friday afternoon.
The Williston, Tenn., native rallied from 2-down on the back nine to capture a 3&1 victory over Knoxville’s Steve Golliher in the final match of the 2018 Tennessee Senior Match Play Championship at The Club at Fairvue Plantation.
The title marks Jackson’s 20th Tennessee Golf Association amateur state championship, which is the state’s record for most career wins.
He defeated Steve’s brother, Jeff Golliher, 4&3 earlier Friday morning in the semifinal round.
“At this point in my career, it’s really my main focus,” the 59-year-old Jackson said about competing in state events. “This morning, I played as good as I have all week. This afternoon I was sketchy in parts and pretty good in other parts.”
“Overall, I’m pretty pleased with how I’m playing here early in the year.”
Jackson is one of the most accomplished amateur golfers in state history. He has played in The Masters twice, he’s one of only five people to win multiple U.S. Mid-Amateur titles, he’s been a member of two USA Walker Cup Teams, and three times he’s been the low amateur at the U.S. Senior Open.
Steve Golliher, who has eight TGA titles of his own on the resume, started the championship match with a birdie to take a quick 1-up lead. The players halved the next eight holes as a steady rained plagued them on the front nine.
Golliher took what appeared to be a commanding 2-up lead with another birdie on No. 9 as Jackson had several quality looks at birdie on the front nine but couldn’t get any of them to fall.
“I believe the greens were good,” Jackson said, “but the aerification holes hadn’t quite healed up yet, so that influenced a lot of putts. When you feel like you had one read right and you hit it there, it gets frustrating. You just have to be patient.”
That patience paid off for Jackson on the back nine as he continued to apply pressure with accurate approach shots. That’s when the momentum quickly shifted.
Jackson got one of the holes back on No. 11, and then pulled all square without having to putt when Golliher found trouble in a fairway bunker on the 13th.
That started a stretch that sealed the victory for Jackson. He ended the match by claiming five of the last six holes.
“In match play, I think it’s all about applying pressure to your opponent,” Jackson said. “Hit the ball in the fairway, hit it on the green … make them think that they have to make birdies to win holes.”
Steve Golliher advanced to the championship match with a 3&2 win over good friend Danny Green of Jackson.
Golliher and Green have teamed up to win the Tennessee Senior Four-Ball four of the past five years, but this time they were going head-to-head for a shot at a title.
Golliher won two of the first six holes in the morning match to take a quick 2-up lead and held on from there.
The four semifinalists of this year’s Tennessee Senior Match Play have now combined for 50 TGA state amateur titles. Jackson leads the way with 20, Green has 18, Steve Golliher eight and Jeff Golliher four.