Being a former member and club champion at TPC Southwind, Matt Cooper knew the course was going to provide a stern test for participants in the 2020 Tennessee Mid-Amateur Championship.
And right up until the very end, that’s what it did.
Cooper fired a final-round 78 and had to survive a three-way playoff with Lee Maxwell and three-time tournament champion Todd Burgan. But when the dust settled, the Memphis native was on top.
Cooper birdied the first extra hole to claim his second Tennessee Mid-Amateur crown. The first one came in 2017 at what is now his home course, Spring Creek Ranch. Cooper finished this week with a three-day total of 5-over, 218 (69-71-78).
“It feels really good,” Cooper said of his third TGA state title. He also won the Tennessee Junior Amateur championship in 1996.
“The last (Mid-Amateur) I won was my first TGA win since the Junior. This year, just being able to play a little bit more this summer and the tournament coming back to Memphis, being a member here at Southwind in the past, it feels good to close it out and win.”
Cooper entered the final day with a two-stroke lead and was the only player under par for the tournament after two rounds left him at -2. The cushion quickly evaporated, though, when he triple bogeyed the second hole of his final round.
He added a bogey and a double bogey on a front nine that also included two birdies, and his score of 40 going out allowed different players to take the lead throughout the day.
“I just got off to a rough start,” Cooper said. “Having a caddie, honestly, really helped. My friend Trey Trotter flew in from Georgia to help me out. We just laughed and had fun out there.”
Cooper made four more bogeys and one birdie on his back nine. He led by two with two holes to play, but bogeyed both 17 and 18.
He sank a 15-footer on No. 1 in the playoff to atone for the bad finish.
Maxwell went 73-73-72 for the week, while Burgan was 70-75-73 on his card.
Payne Denman and Corey Rochelle tied for fourth at 6-over, 219. Jeff Lee was sixth at 220, followed by Whit Turnbow, Brenton Flynn and Matt Mitchell in a tie for seventh (+8, 221).
Rounding out the top ten were Tyler Guy, Ryan Greer and Chris Barron in a tie for 10th at 222.
This was the first time that TPC Southwind had hosted a TGA championship. The course welcomes the top professional players in the world every summer for the WGC FedEx St. Jude Invitational.