Promoting the Game in Tennessee
TN Golf
< Back

Tennessee State Amateur heads to Tennessee National for 109th playing

LOUDON, Tenn. — The 109th Tennessee State Amateur will begin play on June 11 with Tennessee National Golf Club serving as the host for the championship for the first time. This year, for the first time in State Amateur history, the winner will receive an exemption into the 124th U.S. Amateur at Hazeltine National Golf Club. 

The Tennessee State Amateur was first played over a century ago, in 1913, before the Tennessee Golf Association was formed. The most storied championship conducted by the TGA has seen many legends hoisting the Martin Condon Trophy. 

Dr. Cary Middlecoff, winner of two U.S. Opens and the 1955 Masters, won the event in four straight years (1940-43). Lew Oehming, a member of the Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame’s inaugural class in 1991, won the event eight times over five decades, with the first coming in 1937 and his final win in 1971. 

Other winners include Hall of Famers Tim Jackson, who has won the event five times and holds the record for most TGA titles (27), and Danny Green, who has been crowned State Amateur Champion three times. Former PGA TOUR star Mason Rudolph and current TOUR member Peter Malnati have also won the illustrious championship.

Situated on the banks of the Tennessee River and playing just under 7,400 yards from the tips, Tennessee National Golf Club is a gem of nature nestled in the foothills of the smoky mountains. Designed by course architect and former PGA TOUR Champion Greg Norman, the course features wide fairways and revetted pot bunkers, similar to a Scottish links design. 

Rated by GolfDigest as one of the top courses in Tennessee, Tennessee National has over three and a half miles of frontage on Watts Bar Lake and sits on 260 acres of land, allowing the golfer to fully immerse in the breathtaking beauty of eastern Tennessee. 

Notable Players in the Field:

Lucas Armstrong (Church Hill) - Armstrong and his partner Payne Denman won the 2023 Mid-Am Four-Ball at Towhee Club. The former Middle Tennessee State University golfer also won the Tennessee PGA’s Player Championship in 2022.

Payne Denman (Riverwatch) - Coming off a quarterfinal finish at the 2024 USGA Amateur Four-Ball at the Philadelphia Cricket Club, Denman looks to continue his hot start to the season at the State Amateur. The three-time TGA winner won both the Men’s Four-Ball and Mid-Am Four-Ball in 2023. Denman also serves as an assistant Men’s Golf Coach for the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders. 

Cooper Hayes (Strawberry Plains) - A Lipscomb Bison Men’s Golf Team member, Hayes won the 2023 Tennessee Match Play Championship at the Links at Kahite.

John Houk (Etowah) - The runner-up at the 2023 Tennessee State Amateur looks to capture the title this year. A golfer for the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, Houk set a school record at UTC with 139 birdies during the 2022-23 season and won the Wofford Intercollegiate in 2023. Houk was named to the PING All-East Region team in 2023 and earned All-SoCon honors in both 2023 and 2024. 

Aaron Ingalls (Jackson) - Ingalls was the winner of the 2018 Tennessee State Amateur at Spring Creek Ranch and also won the 2022 Mid-Am Four-Ball with partner Jeff Reuter. He was a representative of Team Tennessee at the 2023 Simmons Bank Cup, helping earn the TGA’s second-straight win in the event against Team Arkansas. Ingalls also recorded a top-10 finish at the State Open in 2023. 

Griffin Law (Chattanooga) - A future University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Moc, Law finished as the top player from Tennessee in the 2023 U.S. Junior Amateur. Law also earned all-state honors in 2023 from the Tennessee Sports Writers Association.

Grant Leaver (Murfreesboro) - The Centerville native won the 2010 Tennessee State Open at GreyStone, though that wasn’t his first professional win. That came just a few months after graduating from Austin Peay State University at the Hilton Garden Inn Classic at Dancing Rabbit Golf Club. In 2015, Leaver was inducted into the Austin Peay Athletics Hall of Fame.

Sheldon McKnight (Ooltewah) - A redshirt freshman for the MTSU Blue Raiders' Golf Team, McKnight has a decorated career in Tennessee. He won the 2022 Junior Amateur at the TN Golf Trail at Henry Horton. At Baylor Prep School, McKnight won the 2020 TSSAA Division II-AA State Championship and recorded four top-three finishes in his high school career. 

Jack Morris (Franklin) - A member of the Lipscomb Bison Men’s Golf Team, Morris is a two-time TGA Champion. He most recently won the 2022 Tennessee Four-Ball with teammate Lance Simpson (Knoxville). Morris was also the champion of the 2020 Tennessee Junior Amateur. 

Taylor Mottern (Marietta, GA) - Mottern fired a 9-under-par 207 to earn the top spot as champion of the 2023 TGA Mid-Amateur Championship. A graduate of Sewanee, he now serves as the Women’s Golf Coach at his alma mater. 

Derek Rende (Chattanooga) - The 2008 Tennessee State Amateur Champion, defeating Joe David in a playoff to capture the title. Rende finished in the Top 15 at the 2023 State Amateur at his home course.

Jack Smith (Knoxville) - Smith, a graduate of the University of Tennessee, looks to add to his three TGA Championships at Tennessee National Golf Club. Smith most recently won the 2021 Tennessee Four-Ball Championship with teammate Ryan Greer (Knoxville). The duo also recorded a win at the same event in 2016. 

Cameron Tankersley (Dickson) - The No. 1 recruit in the class of 2022 in the State of Tennessee, Tankersley plays collegiate golf for the Ole Miss Rebels. He was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team during the 2022-23 season and named to the Ping All-Region Team (Southeast) the following season, 2023-24. Tankersley also finished Second in the 2021 State Open and finished in the top five in the State Amateur in the same year. 

Ryan Terry (Brentwood) - A former collegiate golfer at Lipscomb, Terry won the 2018 Tennessee Mid-Am Championship. Terry also finished T10 in the 2023 Tennessee State Amateur and made it to the Round of 16 at the Tennessee Match Play Championship. 

Whit Turnbow (Murfreesboro) - Turnbow serves as the current president of the Tennessee Golf Association, a position he has held since 2018. Turnbow looks to add to his two TGA titles, with his most recent win coming at the Tennessee Four-Ball Championship with teammate Payne Denman. 

Walker Webb (Brentwood) - Webb became one of the youngest golfers to ever qualify for the Tennessee State Open last year at 14 years old. He also was named an All-State golfer by the Tennessee Sports Writers Association. 

Brendon Wilson (Ringgold) - Wilson won the 2022 Mid-Amateur Championship at Nashville Golf & Athletic Club. Wilson also claimed top honors at the 2023 Gasparilla Invitational, widely regarded as one of the premier Mid-Amateur events nationwide.