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Crowder wins weather-shortened Tennessee Junior Amateur in playoff

OLD HICKORY, Tenn. — With a championship and a ticket to the 76th U.S. Junior Amateur Championship on the line, the pressure was palpable at Hermitage Golf Course. Weather forced the third round to be suspended and the Tennessee Junior Amateur shortened to 36 holes, triggering a playoff between the two second-round leaders.

Rain still fell as Maddox Crowder and Billy Boroughs (Chattanooga) prepared to tee off on the first playoff hole. Both had used second-round 65s to climb to the top of the leaderboard heading into Wednesday. That strong play on day two put them in a position to play for the title.

On the first playoff hole, Crowder found the fairway and gave himself a great look at the green from inside 100 yards. Boroughs on the other hand had a tricky shot where he would have to punch out from under a tree and land in a tiny area for his ball to hold the green. 

Boroughs hit a near-perfect shot onto the green after a wayward tee shot to give himself a birdie look while Crowder had to putt from off the green. Both made par to head to the second playoff hole, hole 9 on General’s Retreat. 

The rain came down harder on the walk to the tee as the tension mounted. Boroughs was in position A off of the tee while it seemed disaster struck for Crowder. His tee shot went right into the trees and kicked straight down, leaving him 250 yards left to the flag on the 443-yard par 4. Crowder pulled 3-wood and hit it right at the flag, getting onto the green with a 40-foot putt for birdie.

Borough’s approach went long and left him just off the green. His putt toward the hole came up short leaving Crowder with a chance to seal his victory. An uphill putt on wet greens meant Crowder would have to really hit it to reach the cup. He made his stroke and watched the ball on its journey towards the hole. Although uncertain about the line, an emphatic fist pump was the exclamation point on the Lafayette native’s victory.

“I knew the pace was there,” Crowder said after accepting the Harold Eller Trophy. “But the line didn’t really look good until the very end. So [I didn’t know it was going in] until the last couple of feet.”

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It all worked out for Crowder, a long bridie securing his spot in the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship at the end of July in Bloomfield, Michigan at Oakland Hills Country Club.

Exceptional play in the Tennessee Junior Amateur wasn’t limited to the two boys in the playoff. Rising freshman at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville Jackson Herrington finished one-stroke back of Boroughs and Crowder after posting a 9-under-par 135 over two rounds.

Thad Whitfield, who will attend Middle Tennessee State University in the fall, was three back from the lead after 36 holes. The Signal Mountain native used a bogey-free 5-under 67 to boost himself up into the top 5 in his final Junior Amateur.

Also playing in his final Tennessee Junior Amateur was Ethan Whitaker, who finished tied for fifth at 6-under-par. He will head to the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga in the fall to join the rising Mocs golf program.

Class of 2026’s Leo Froio used an exceptional first round to also claim a top-5 finish, posting a round of 65 on day one.

For complete results from the 2024 Tennessee Junior Amateur, click here.