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Nashville Pro-Am

CHATTANOOGA – Josh Wheeler is playing in his first-ever Tennessee Mid-Amateur championship.  He is one round away from making it his first state title, as well.


The 27-year-old former Tennessee Wesleyan College golfer heads into the final round at Black Creek Club with a three-stroke lead after turning in rounds of 67 and 66 to sit at 11-under.


His closest challengers are former Lipscomb University golfer Ryan Terry at 8-under and six-time Tennessee Mid-Amateur and two-time U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Tim Jackson at 7-under.


“With this golf course, there is nothing comfortable,” said Wheeler, a Maryville native who was once a professional at Oak Ridge Country Club before recently regaining his amateur status.


“You are capable of making bogey or double on any hole out here.  It’s an extremely good design and it makes you hit shots.  There’s not any hole out here where you can lay off and feel comfortable.”


Wheeler has feasted on the par fives through the opening two rounds, playing them in nine-under par with three eagles, three birdies and two pars.


In Friday’s second round, he made the turn with a 30 and then added a birdie on No. 10 to get his total to 12-under at one point.  He bogeyed two of the next three holes before recovering with a birdie on the par-five 14th.

“I’ve been putting it pretty well,” Wheeler said.  “The key to this place is to drive it well.  The fairway bunkers are very well placed.  I’ve driven it pretty well.  The couple of times I haven’t, I’ve gotten away with it where I’ve missed.”


Terry has turned in consecutive rounds of 68.  He made eight birdies on Friday but also made back-to-back double bogeys on 11 and 12. 


Five players are currently tied for fourth at 6-under, including Volunteer High School golf coach Lucas Armstrong (Church Hill), who turned in the lowest round of the tournament so far in the second round at 8-under, 64.  He recorded seven birdies, an eagle and two bogeys.


Winston Brown (Chattanooga, 72-66), Ben Glover (Paris, 68-70), Ryan Greer (Knoxville, 68-70) and Ryan McCann (Franklin, 68-70) are also tied for fourth.  Joshua Collins (Maynardville, 69-70) and Patrick Powell (Springfield, 72-67) are six strokes back of the lead, tied for ninth.


Defending tournament champion Matt Cooper (Collierville, 73-67) is at -4, along with Dan Crockett (Nashville, 67-73) and Jeff Greeson (Chattanooga, 70-70).


The top 30 players and ties advanced to Saturday’s final round from the opening 99-player field. 


1              Josh Wheeler                     -11

2              Ryan Terry                          -8

3              Tim Jackson                        -7

4              Lucas Armstrong              -6

4              Winston Brown                 -6

4              Ben Glover                          -6

4              Ryan Greer                         -6

4              Ryan McCann                    -6

9              Joshua Collins                    -5

9              Patrick Powell                    -5

11           Matt Cooper                      -4

11           Dan Crockett                      -4

11           Jeff Greeson                      -4

14           Wes Farris                           -3

14           Ray Morton                        -3

14           Whit Turnbow                   -3

17           Clayton Ellis                        -2

18           Warren Cheney                -1

18           Cres Dodd                           -1

18           Lee Maxwell                       -1

21           Brett Barry                          E

21           Kyle Hayworth                   E

21           Chris Travis                         E

24           Lawrence Largent            +1

24           Philip Lee                            +1

24           Jeff Manley                        +1

27           John Burch                          +2

27           Aaron Ingalls                      +2

27           Matt King                            +2

27           Jeff Reuter                          +2

27           Danie Roberts                   +2

27           John Swoboda                   +2

27           Hunter Vest                        +2

27           Bill Wellons                        +2

27           Keith Woodall                    +2





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