By Joe Williams, Sports Editor
Franklin's Nick Garretson preparing for the State Amateur event this weekend. Garretson finished just behind Brentwood's Robert Loudermilk in the Jim Fyke Municipal Open last week and in front of three other Williamson County residents. SUBMITTED PHOTO
Williamson County golfers dominated the Jim Fyke Municipal Amateur Championships last week as Robert Loudermilk birdied the last three holes to top Nick Garretson by three strokes over the 54-hole event.
Third place Kevin Watford, fourth place Derrick Centers and fifth place Josh Nelms all call Williamson County home.
Franklin’s Watford, who won the 2006, 2011 and 2012 title, opened Sunday’s final round at Harpeth Hills with a one-shot lead over Brentwood’s Loudermilk and Garretson of Franklin.
By the turn, roles had been reversed.
Garretson had taken a two-shot lead after nine as Watford struggled from the blue tees. Weather delays affected play more than once, leaving golfers scrambling.
“We weren’t sure we were going to get it in,” said Garretson Monday. “Then we got rolling and I got on a little streak.
“I didn’t realize how things had tightened up until the turn. We were in the next to last pairing. Then it got closer.”
Loudermilk, playing with Garretson, approached the 16th tee with the pair in a dead heat. The former University of Tennessee kicker birdied 16, then birdied out to finish the day three under, 11 under for the tournament and a three-shot win over Garretson.
The birdie string that cost him a shot at the title didn’t upset Garretson.
“If I had birdied 16 and stayed even, it might have been different. I was 210 yards out and tried to reach the green by cutting around a tree. But Robert was strong the last two holes and hit the ball well.”
Watford might be the most disappointed of the Williamson County contingent. His one-shot lead evaporated over the front nine, finishing at three over for the day and six under for the tourney, five shots behind Loudermilk. He was attempting to grab his third title in a row and tie Haymes Snedecker with four titles. He’s still in pretty good company with three wins, tied for second on the all-time win list with Craig McElhaney and Brandt Snedecker.
Nolensville’s Center, who played for the UT golf team in the late 1990s, finished five under for tourney after being two over in the final round.
Nelms, of Spring Hill, shot even par at Harpeth Hills on Sunday, one under for the event to take his fifth spot.
The event, played over three days at public courses McCabe, Two Rivers and Harpeth Hills, is named for Jim Fyke, who retired in 2003 as the Director of Metro Parks after 38 years in the department. More than 300 golfers participated, with more than 60 declaring their intention to play in the championship flight. The event is a fundraiser for the James H. Fyke Foundation, which provides scholarships for young golfers to attend a camp at the The Golf House Tennessee in Franklin.
Posted on: 7/24/2013