A trio of champions crowned at Rarity Bay Golf & Country Club
VONORE, Tenn. — For the first time since the Senior and Super Senior Amateur Championships were held concurrently, three champions were named at the tournament. Rarity Bay Golf & Country Club was a spectacular host, providing a great venue that tested all of this week’s competitors.
Steven Mann took full advantage of that in the Senior Amateur Championship. As cut day loomed, the Franklin native fired the best round of the tournament with his 7-under-par 65 to give himself a comfortable four-stroke lead ahead of Wednesday.
The final round didn’t get going exactly how Mann had hoped. A bogey on hole 5 paired with two birdies from first-round leader Steve Johnson meant Mann’s four-stroke lead was now one. But the runner-up of the 2021 Tennessee Senior Amateur locked in from hole 7 on. There he birdied the first of three par 3’s, which set him up for a victory along with his birdie on hole 10. It didn’t always feel that way, however.
“When my lead got down to one I started to feel tight,” Mann said. “Pressure was coming from the leaderboard.”
The pressure coming from below him on the leaderboard was from none other than the four-time champion at this event, Tim Jackson. The current defending champ had to play flawless golf if he wanted to chase down Mann being six shots back to start the final round.
The Tennessee Golf Hall of Famer certainly gave it a run, carding four birdies and an eagle in his final round but ultimately only made up two shots on Mann—an impressive performance though from the winningest man in Tennessee golf history.
“I left some shots out there, but it’s hard to chase from six back,” Jackson said after his round.
Besides Mann, only one other golfer had three rounds under par at the Tennessee Senior Amateur. Jonesborough’s A.R. Rhea finished T4 with a 71-69-71 getting him to 5-under-par for the tournament.
The Super Senior Amateur Championship finished with much more dramatics, requiring two playoff holes to determine a victor. Jerry Matthew had led the first two rounds entering Wednesday’s final round, but lurking in the wings was two-time defending champion Buzz Fly.
Fly started the day three shots back and was 1-over-par for the day through 14 holes before he locked in. Birding three of the final four holes would have secured Fly the win, but Matthew eagled the 18th to force a playoff.
So off they went, making their way to the 10th for their first playoff hole. Both ended the par 5 with pars and turned around to play the 10th hole for a second time. A long drive from Fly gave him a great look to reach the green in two while Matthew’s second shot came up short of the green. Fly was pin-high with a long eagle look from just off the green. He left himself a short putt for birdie to win the tournament and converted for the three-peat.