OAK RIDGE – Jim Webb is a relative newcomer to the amateur golf tournament scene in Tennessee.
But the 68-year-old Brentwood native performed like a veteran in the Tennessee Super Senior Amateur Championship at Oak Ridge Country Club this past week.
Webb entered the final round with a two-stroke lead over two-time defending tournament champion Neil Spitalny. Webb proceeded to bogey his first three holes on Friday, and then added a double bogey on No. 10.
But both times he recovered nicely, never letting it snowball into a bad round. Webb scrapped together a round of 1-over, 73, which was good enough to help him hold on for a one stroke victory over Spitalny to earn his first-ever TGA title.
“I was proud of myself,” Webb said. “I didn’t fold and everything turned out okay.”
“It was a roller coaster day. Probably not being in this position before, I had a little overswing the first few holes. I was playing with two nice gentlemen who I’ve known for a long time, and they encouraged me to settle down. That really helped me re-establish things.”
Webb didn’t play in his first TGA event until 2011. This wasn’t his first time contending for a title, though. Two years ago, he and Spitalny went to extra holes for the Super Senior Amateur crown at Spring Creek Ranch. Spitalny got the best of him that day.
Spitalny looked as if he might capture his third straight title as the final group played its back nine on Friday. After Webb doubled No. 10 to make it a two-way tie at the top of the leaderboard, Spitalny birdied No. 12 to move in front.
But Webb answered with a birdie on No. 14 and then on the next hole, the 164-yard par three, he knocked his tee shot to within six inches to go back on top.
On his front nine of the day, after playing the first three holes at 3-over par, Webb followed with birdies on holes 5, 6 and 9.
“I’ve been working really hard and found something in my game,” Webb said. “It’s nice to finally show some rewards for playing hard for a number of years.”
Webb finished with a three-day total of 213 (-3) to Spitalny’s 214. Spitalny won his fourth career TGA title earlier this year when he and playing partner John Williams claimed the Super Senior Four-Ball Championship at Montgomery Bell.
Tony Green finished third this week, going 72-70-75–217. Ed Link was fourth at 218 (71-76-71), while David Dooley (72-76-72) and Dan Schorsten (73-74-73) rounded out the top five at 220.