Four players, led by the golf tournament’s defending champion, scorched the Lonesome Pine Country Club course and finished under par.
TAYLOR MAKES A STATEMENT
Defending tournament champion Chance Taylor, a sophomore at Tennessee Tech and former Gate City golfer, set the tone for the field with a 5-under-par 66.
Taylor led Garland Green and Mike Damron by three strokes in the longest-running golf tournament in the region.
Matt Love (70), Robert England (72), former tournament champions Craig Winchell (72) and Mike McCall (73), former Eastside golfer Hunter Lunsford (74), George Roat (75) and nine-time tournament champion Bill Sergent III rounded out the top 10 in the championship division heading into Sunday’s final round.
NOT BIG ENOUGH
Taylor, who recently finished his freshman year as a member of Tennessee Tech’s golf squad, was happy to have the lead after the first day. But he said he is in no way taking anything for granted going into the final round.
“I feel comfortable playing here. It’s good to come back to a place I really, really enjoy,” Taylor said of Lonesome Pine Country Club. “You can never have a big enough lead, so it’s good to have a lead.
“It really should have been more than it was. I probably left a solid four or five shots out there through mental mistakes. But you can’t complain about a 66.”
Having made the adjustment from the high school game to the collegiate level has been a big plus for Taylor.
“It’s a different level. You’ve got to always shoot 5 or 6 under for three days to win. It’s made me a much smarter player, as to knowing when I get in trouble and try to minimize my mental mistakes,” he said.
The invitational is Taylor’s seventh tournament of the summer. He’s been playing a lot in the Knoxville area as well as the Tri-Cities.
He won the Great Smoky Mountains Amateur Championship in early July at Gatlinburg Golf Course and last month lost the championship of the Tillinghast Invitational at Johnson City Country Club in a playoff with former Emory & Henry golfer Tanner Davis.
Sunday’s final round will have a familiar look with Taylor and Green playing in the final group. Taylor and Green, a former Virginia Tech and eGolf Professional Tour player from Tazewell, Virginia, battled throughout the final day of last year’s event before Taylor edged Green by one stroke for the title.
SENIORS AND SUPER SENIORS
Tony Green and James White shot a 1-over 72 Saturday to tie for the lead in the senior flight. Mike Haney was just behind them after a 73.
In the super seniors division, Kingsport’s Bob Ross shot a 67 and led Allen Blanken by four strokes. Andy Black (74), Oscar Neece (78), Jim Hughes (80) and Wayne Mahan (80) rounded out the top five.
The tournament starts Sunday at 9 a.m. The final group in the championship division is scheduled to tee off at 11:50 a.m.
88th annual Lonesome Pine Invitational
At Lonesome Pine Country Club, Big Stone Gap
Saturday, July 20
Chance Taylor 66
Mike Damron 69
Garland Green 69
Matt Love 70
Robert England 72
Craig Winchell 72
Mike McCall 73
Hunter Lunsford 74
George Roat 75
Bill Sergent III 75
Nate Clark 76
Matt Dotson 76
Evan Sturgill 76
Lucas Lowe 80
Brett Richards 83
Charlie Glenn 74
Andrew Horsman 74
Jeff Gowder 74
Matt Ward 76
Justin Wilson 76
Steve Lockhart 78
Rick Morgan 78
Mark Clendenon 79
Walt Grace 79
Bill Damron 79
Matt Smith 79
Matt Horsman 80
Rick Meade 80
Jimmy Taylor 81
Landon Slone 82
Ben Sousa 82
Drew Adkins 84
Glen Pearson 85
Elmon Walters 85
Thomas Glenn 86
Mike Gannon 87
James Hughes 87
Robbie Carrico 92
Kevin Hughett 95
Kevin Black 99
Jim Caudill 102
Jason Deloney 104
Tony Green 72
James White 72
Mike Haney 73
Pudge Vanhoose 76
Bob Ross 67
Allen Blanken 71
Andy Black 74
Oscar Neece 78
Jim Hughes 80
Wayne Mahan 80
Johnny Black 82
Lester Bowman 90
Martin Stanley 91
Sunday’s Tee Times
9 a.m. — Johnny Black, Lester Bowman, Martin Stanley
9:10 a.m. – Jim Hughes, Wayne Mahan, Oscar Neece
9:20 a.m. – Andy Black, Allen Blanken, Bob Ross
9:30 a.m. – Tony Green, James White, Mike Haney, Pudge Vanhoose
9:50 a.m. – Kevin Black, Robbie Carrico, Jason Deloney
10 a.m. – Jim Caudill, Kevin Hughett, Thomas Glenn
10:10 a.m. – James Hughes, Mike Fannon, Elmon Walters, Glen Pearson
10:20 a.m. – Drew Adkins, Ben Sousa, Landon Slone, Jimmy Taylor
10:30 a.m. – Mark Clendenon, Matt Horsman, Rick Meade, Matt Smith
10:50 a.m. – Steve Lockhart, Rick Morgan, Bill Damron
11 a.m. – Walt Crace, Justin Wilson, Matt Ward
11:10 a.m. – Jeff Gowder, Charlie Glenn, Andrew Horsman
11:20 a.m. – Brett Richards, Lucas Lowe, Nate Clark
11:30 a.m. – Evan Sturgill, Matt Dotson, George Roat, Bill Sergent III
11:40 a.m. – Hunter Lunsford, Mike McCall, Craig Winchell, Robert England
11:50 a.m. – Matt Love, Chance Taylor, Mike Damron, Garland Green