CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — While it’s a total cliché, there’s something to be said for getting better each day. That’s what it took for Knoxville native Jake Hall to win the 108th Tennessee State Amateur at Chattanooga Golf and Country Club.
The redshirt senior at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville fired a steady 68-68-66-61 to capture his first Tennessee Golf Association title. It was the sort of win that would make the tortoise proud, as he never led until the last day. With the win, he joins the company of Tennessee golf greats like Chattanooga native Lew Oehmig, Tim Jackson, Cary Middlecoff and Danny Green, to name a few.
Hall’s calm demeanor and slow heartbeat on the course were evident throughout the tournament. Through 72 holes of play at the State Amateur, the Knoxville native only played carded five holes over par. And Hall did more than save his best for last, he saved the best round ever played at Chattanooga Golf and Country Club for his final round.
“I was just focused on my own game and worrying about myself,” Hall said. “And the putts, they just kept falling.”
Maybe the most impressive of the putts happen on the penultimate hole of the tournament. On the top tier of the 17th green over 40 feet from the hole, Hall hit the dead center of the flagstick and his ball dropped in for birdie. All Hall could do was shake his head and smile.
His par on the 72nd hole of the tournament required an up-and-down shot from between the two bunkers on the left side. When the putt dropped, Hall not only became the 108th Tennessee State Amateur champion but also set a CGCC course record.
Hall became the third straight UT-Knoxville Men’s Golf product to be crowned a State Amateur champion. All three Volunteer golfers set records during their title wins. Lance Simpson set a Cherokee Country Club course record during his third round and Tyler Johnson broke eleven State Amateur records in 2021.
The win didn’t come without any pressure from the field, however. Athens, Tennessee’s John Houk was in contention most of the week thanks to his strong play in the second and third rounds. A bogey-free 66 in the second round and a 6-under-par 64 in the third gave the recent University of Tennessee-Chattanooga transfer the lead heading into the final round.
“You’re not going to beat a 61,” Houk said with a smile. “I played some really good golf this week and that much I can be proud of.”
Finishing in third was Hall’s teammate at UT-Knoxville Evan Woosley-Reed. It’s the Shelbyville native’s second straight top 3 finish at the Tennessee State Amateur after coming in second in 2022. He bookended his 2023 State Amateur tournament with a pair of 5-under-par 65’s for his best finish of the season.
Other than the State Amateur Champion, Patton Samuels was the only other competitor in the field to post four-straight under-par rounds. The Clarksville native went 68-68-69-68 to finish in fourth place at 7-under-par.
Rounding out the top 5 was Brentwood’s Micah Stangebye who used strong third and fourth rounds to catapult up the leaderboard. His fourth-round 65 tied for the second-best final round score and secured his spot inside the top five.
This was the 15th time that Chattanooga Golf and Country Club hosted the Tennessee State Amateur, the most of any club in the tournament’s 108-year history. Through rain delays and a 144-player field, the course more than held up to the competition to once again produce a worthy champion.
For full results from the 108th Tennessee State Amateur, click here.