DICKSON – Bob Wolcott didn’t make the cut in the 71st annual Tennessee State Open this week, but he’ll undoubtedly be sticking around for Thursday’s final round.
Bob’s two sons, Hunter and Ben, sit first and second respectively on the leaderboard at a GreyStone Golf Club they grew up playing on daily and consider their home course. They will be in the final group, along with long-time pro Doug Barron, with a scheduled tee time of 9 a.m.
“It’s good to see them play so well,” an emotional Bob Wolcott said. “Coming in, Hunter had been playing so well, and I think people forgot how good Ben was.”
“They are both competitive in their own right. Ben wants to win. Hunter wants to win. It’s going to be fun to watch. It will be a great early Father’s Day present.”
Hunter and Ben played the first two rounds in the same group with their dad. Bob tweeted after Tuesday’s opening round that it was “one of the best days of (his) life.” Bob won the Tennessee Open in 1983.
Hunter entered the second round with a three-stroke lead over his brother after an opening 9-under, 63.
Ben eagled his third hole of the day (No. 12) on Wednesday. Later he birdied four of the first six holes on the back nine to pull even with his brother at 12-under. Hunter recorded a birdie on the final hole (No. 9) to finish with a 4-under, 68 to give him a one-stroke advantage heading into the final round.
“It’s never easy to follow up a 63,” Hunter said. “Today I got hit with some adversity, making a couple of bogeys on my front nine. I tried to control what I could, my attitude, and I ended up firing a good number.”
Ben turned in his second consecutive 6-under, 66.
“The nice thing about playing with them is that Hunter is playing so well,” Ben said. “We are kind of feeding off each other a little bit. But it’s been a great event, getting to play with Hunter and my dad.”
“I can’t tell you the last time I’ve played golf with Hunter. We just don’t get to see each other that much. Getting to play in this with him has just really been great family time and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
Barron turned in the low round of the day on Wednesday as he carded a 9-under, 63 to move to 11-under for the tournament. Barron has only made on bogey the entire tournament, and had nine birdies and no bogeys in the second round.
“I’m hitting the ball good,” Barron said. “I’m feeling good about it. I left a few out there and stole a few too, but it was fun. The goal today was to get within three or four of Hunter and play with them.”
Also tied for third at 11-under is rising Middle Tennessee State University senior Tanner Owens, who turned in a 6-under, 66.
Owens will be grouped with recent Lipscomb University transfer Nolan Ray and UNC-Charlotte golfer Trey Tobias, who are tied for fifth at 10-under.
East Tennessee State University’s Austin Carter is alone in seventh at 9-under, while teammate Jack Rhea is one stroke behind him. Pros Brooks Thomas and Eric Ansett are tied with Rhea in eighth place.
The field was cut to the top 60 players and ties for Thursday’s final round.
COMPLETE SCORING: https://www.golfgenius.com/pages/1860515
FINAL ROUND TEE TIMES: https://www.golfgenius.com/pages/1860514