With many national summer tournaments canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, golfers have been looking for places to compete. That’s helped the tournament at Johnson City Country Club have what might be considered its strongest field ever.
The 36-hole event gets underway Saturday and concludes Sunday.
East Tennessee State has a large contingent of players, led by Jack Rhea, who is coming off an All-America junior season.
Rhea’s father, A.R. Rhea, is in the senior field as well, giving the field two ETSU father-son combinations. Remi Chartier, a freshman with the Bucs, is playing and will be competing against his dad, Scott Chartier, who played college golf himself.
Austin Carter, a Kingsport native and ETSU golfer, finished one stroke out of a playoff two years ago. Also playing are ETSU’s Samuel Trueba and former Bucs golfer Cayman Ratliff.
One ETSU player — Trevor Hulbert in 2017— has won the tournament.
Tennessee’s Vols will be represented by Spencer Cross, Chase Rosewall and assistant coach Bo Andrews.
Players from other NCAA Division I golf programs are William Nottingham of Clemson; Andrew Spiegler of South Carolina; Connor Creasy of Georgia; and Bracton Womack Chance Taylor and Sean Anderson of Tennessee Tech. Ryan Heisey, an assistant coach at Chattanooga, also is in the field.
Tanner Davis will be back to defend his championship. He beat Chance Taylor in a playoff last year, the fourth time extra holes have been needed at the Tillinghast.
Davis and Taylor finished at 2-under-par 142, the highest score for a Tillinghast winner since the late Joe Meade won the 2008 event with a 143.
Davis, who qualified for last year’s U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship, is coming off a victory in last week’s Green Meadow Invitational in Alcoa, where he won in a playoff after rounds of 67 and 68.
Ben Campbell, who won the title in 2015 and 2016, is the only other former champion in the field.
The college players will be challenged by several locals who have won invitationals throughout the years. Eight former winners of the East Tennessee Amateur are in the field.
Other notables vying for the title include Nick Cohen, who tied the single-round tournament record with a closing 64 two years ago, and Lawrence Largent, who has finished second in the Tillinghast numerous times.
Mike Poe is back to defend his senior division championship. The coach at Volunteer shot a pair of 68s last year to run away from the field with a six-shot victory.
The tournament is a points event for the Tennessee State Golf Association player of the year as well as the first stop on the Tri-Cities Amateur Tour.
Saturday’s action gets underway at 8 a.m.
Saturday’s tee times
At Johnson City Country Club
8:00 a.m. — Brandon Mathis, Pujan Shah
8:10 a.m. — Andrew Spiegler, Josh McWhorter, Daniel Everhart
8:20 a.m. — Nick Cohen, Nelson Dickson, Blake Howard
8:30 a.m. — Lucas Tabor, Spencer Cross, Hunter O’Neal
8:40 a.m. — Ben Treadway, Caleb Gonzalez, Sidney Melvin
8:50 a.m. — Channing Blevins, Connor Creasy, Richard Lowe
9:00 a.m. — Jeremy Rollins, Richard Oref, Kevin Campbell
9:10 a.m. — Austin Carter, Bryan Sangid, Scott Chartier
9:20 a.m. — Austin Davis, Ben Campbell, Joe Brooks
9:30 a.m. — Wesley Jones, Samuel Trueba, Jacob Owens
9:40 am. — Bo Andrews, Ryan Terry, Gavin Nickels
9:50 a.m. — Cayman Ratliff, Tory Davis, Matthew Love
10:00 a.m. — Garrett Whitfield, Sean Anderson, Christopher Schaff
10:10 a.m. — Remi Chartier, Will Watson, Joe Culpepper
10:20 a.m. — William Nottingham, Clint Lowe, Jack Tickle
10:30 a.m. — Jackson Skeen, Tanner Davis, Ryan Heisey
10:40 a.m. — Brackton Smith, Caleb Moss, Chase Roswall
10:50 a.m. — Lucas Armstrong, Chance Taylor, Daniel Goode
11:00 a.m. — Tommy Miller, Tarun Hoskere, Dan Constantino
11:10 a.m. — Bracton Womack, Jack Rhea, Carter Counts
11:20 a.m. — Lawrence Largent, Alex Bradford, Jonathan Coats
11:30 a.m. — Alan George, John Williams
11:40 a.m. — Brandon Moore, John White, Kevin Cole
11:50 a.m. — Grayson Clark, Tim Walker, Billy Haren
Noon — Daniel Sochalski, Mitchell Nidiffer, Michael Davis
12:10 p.m. — Matt Brown, Shawn Stewart, Craig Duncan
12:20 p.m. — Wes Estes, Kipp Hambrick, Felicia Nidiffer
12:30 p.m. — Josh Taylor, Tony Southard, Cole Greer
12:40 p.m. — Mike Wood, Randy Longcrier
12:50 p.m. — Cary Daniels, Bryan Rodgers, Bill Hardin
1:00 p.m. — Mark Atkins, Tim Moore, Mark Halvorsen
1:10 p.m. — Pat Kenney, Steve Love, Richard Wilson
1:20 p.m. — David Daniels, David Greer, Chris Jenkins
1:30 p.m. — Stefan Salyer, Scott Campbell, James White
1:40 p.m. — Mike Poe, A.R. Rhea, Lyman Fulton
1:50 p.m. — Greg Goulds, Jim Brantner
2:00 p.m. — Troy Baker, Marvin Orio
2:10 p.m. — Joe Avento, Chris Tidwell, Charlie Smith