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Ward claims Tennessee State Putt Putt title

Tanner Cook • Jun 22, 2018 at 1:00 AM

KINGSPORT — Greg Ward of Loganville, Georgia — considered by many to be the “Greatest of the Greats” — won the Tennessee State Putt Putt golf tournament on Thursday night at the Kingsport Professional Putters Association course in an 18-hole playoff over Kent Cranford after being tied after three rounds at 81.

It was just another notch in the belt for Ward as he added to his long list of accomplishments since turning pro in 1982. He is a four-time PPA player of the year, a 2002 Hall of Fame inductee and a two-time Putter of the Decade for the 1990s and 2000s.

“I played well and the course is tough,” Ward said. “Everyone is so good out here and it’s going to come down to making one or two big putts. Thankfully, I was able to make them tonight.”

Ward won in the playoff by four strokes and had everything working for him despite the course being wet and a bit slower.

Cranford made a charge in the last round by shooting a 27 to tie Ward atop the leaderboard and force the playoff. Ward started off the playoff on the right foot, nailing an ace on the first hole.

Chris Taylor of Kingsport was the top amateur for the state tourney, winning comfortably by three strokes. Conveniently, it was also his birthday on Thursday, so he was able to celebrate in style.

“It feels great to win on the home course and on my birthday. It’s a great feeling,” Taylor said. “It helps a little bit to have the home course advantage, especially when it’s wet. I play on the other Southern Tour tournaments out of town and all of these guys are tough.”

The fun does not stop as the weekend will be full of events at the Putt Putt course with the Tournament Player’s Championship on both Saturday and Sunday with professionals playing a combined eight rounds over two days for the grand prize of $15,000. The amateurs tournament will begin today.

This will be the first time that Kingsport has hosted a PPA event, and judging by the turnout on Thursday night, there will be well over 100 players for the big tournament over the weekend.

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