Glenrochie Country Club ends Ridgefields' reign as GKA champion

Dave Ongie • Jul 12, 2009 at 12:00 AM

BEAN STATION — Played on four distinctly different golf courses over a four-day span, the Greater Kingsport Amateur challenges its field with waves of inconsistency. Different green speeds, different hazards and different layouts make every round a new adventure.

In the end, Glenrochie Country Club and Carlson Cox stood head and shoulders above everyone else on Sunday afternoon at Clinchview Golf Course, and they got there by withstanding every twist and turn along the way.

Glenrochie entered the day with an 11-shot lead over McDonald Hills Golf Course and, thanks to a final-round 293, the Abingdon club’s total of 1,182 was good enough to ensure that the new champions exited Bean Station with that margin of victory over McDonald Hills.

Clinchview moved into third place, using home- course advantage to card a final-round 288 for a total of 1,194.

“With our guys we had returning from yesterday, I knew we would play well,” said Glenrochie captain Bill Hardin. “We tied the guys who were second to us and that’s all we needed to do.”

Sunday’s victory marked the first-ever GKA men’s team title for Glenrochie. Four-time defending champion Ridgefields Country Club finished fourth with a total of 1,203.

Hardin said the members of Glenrochie weren’t playing it safe on Sunday as much as they were playing it smart.

“I think everyone was just trying to shoot as low as they possibly could,” he said. “I think if they just played well, they’re not going to make any major mistakes, and that’s what we stayed away from.”

In the individual contest, Cox entered the final round with a comfortable 10-shot cushion. Thanks to a 2-under 70 on Sunday, Cox’s total of 280 gave him an 11-shot victory over Adam Arnold of McDonald Hills.

Cox, of Silver Lake, has been working on his consistency this summer, and his runaway win this weekend offered evidence that he’s hitting his stride.

“I wanted to get my consistency down to where, if I was playing my worst golf, I could keep it around par,” Cox said. “I’ve got that down so far. This is my first tournament where I’ve shot under par for four days.”

Arnold carded a 1-under 71 to finish at 291.

In addition to anchoring Glenrochie’s championship squad, Hardin’s final-round 72 gave him a 295, good enough for sole possession of third place.

With such a large advantage, Cox was gunning for pars all day Sunday in order to take the possibility of making big numbers out of play.

In doing so, he was able to slam the door on any potential challengers.

“I just wanted to go out and shoot par today and if I got some birdies, I’d get them,” Cox said.

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