2021 APT PubLinks Championship
Greystone Golf Club
May 28-30, 2021
Over Memorial Day weekend 128 competitors from 15 different states descended upon Greystone Golf Club in Dickson, Tennessee to take on the Mark McCumber-designed golf course and vie for the $7,740 dollar prize pool and the coveted priority exemptions to the 2021 North American Championship at Pinehurst. Unseasonably cool and damp weather on Saturday gave way to sunshine and optimal scoring conditions for Sunday’s final round and the players took full advantage.
Division 1 saw a pair of Bluegrass State natives tied for the lead after round one as Eric King of Somerset, KY and Dakota Woodcock of Scottsville, KY got out of the gates quickly with matching two-over par rounds of 74. The Birmingham Chapter refused to let the duo break away from the pack as New Hope’s Derek Nicholson birdied two of his last five holes for an opening 75 while Warrior’s Mike Weathers posted 76 to fill out the final group on Sunday morning.
Woodcock grabbed the solo lead early in the final round as King stumbled with three bogeys in his first five holes. Meanwhile, Nicholson kept applying pressure with an opening 35 on his first nine. King recovered from his rocky start with a birdie on his eighth hole followed by ten straight pars to post a final round 74 and a two-day total of 148. Both Nicholson and Woodcock found trouble on their inward nine allowing King to step onto the tee on the 36th hole of the tournament tied for the lead with Woodcock. King’s approach to the par five closing hole fell short of his high standards, leading to a par and leaving Woodcock with a curling twelve footer for birdie. Just steps away from the clubhouse with spectators watching intently, Dakota stepped in and calmly stroked in the birdie putt on the final hole to punch his ticket to Pinehurst!
Ronnie Fowler from Corinth, Mississippi took control of Division 2 with a solid 75 in the opening round. Another Kentuckian played well as Chris Hatfield posted a 76 to sit just one shot back. Atlanta Chapter member John Perron, Birmingham member Corey Gooch, Charlotte member Scott Dixon, and Nashville’s Caleb Waters made up the chase pack with 7-over 79s. Perron posted the round of the day in Division 2 on Sunday with a one-over 73 to apply pressure on the leaders. Fowler jumped out to a hot start with back-to-back birdies on his 3rd and 4th holes, but a bogey on his 6th and a double on his 8th left the door ajar for the chasers. Ultimately, Fowler righted the ship and his lead proved to be too much for his playing partners to overcome. Chalk one up for the old guys, Mr. Fowler. Congratulations to Corey Gooch on winning the only super skin on Sunday worth $1,060 dollars!
A pair of Birmingham Chapter members ran away from the field in round one as Tres Gammill of Ackerman, Mississippi turned in his best ever round on the APT with a 3-over 75. It looked like he was going to lap the field until his Chapter Owner, Russ Donaldson, closed out the first round in the final group of the day with a 6-over 78 to lurk within 3 shots of the leader. John Lott of Louisville, Kentucky bounced back from a rough start with the second best round of the day on Sunday in Division 3. Lott fired a 4-over par 76 despite the cool north wind that challenged the players all day. Gammill followed up his APT best with an even better round on Sunday. Gammill’s even par 72 kept Donaldson at bay all day leading him to an 8 shot lead. Unfortunately, the scores fell outside the limits of the APT matrix and left the tournament committee with no choice but to disqualify Mr. Gammill. Despite the objections of Donaldson who lobbied hard on behalf of his chapter member, the trophy, the gift card and the points were awarded to Donaldson for his solid two day total of 155. Mr. Gammill was not permitted to win the event, but APT leadership softened the blow by granting him priority exemption status for the North American Championship.
All the drama on the weekend was provided by Division 4 as a pair of local favorites, Anthony Todd and Thomas Jones, fired opening 83s to share the lead after round one. They were followed closely by another Nashville Chapter member, David Smith, and the St. Louis Chapter’s Jason Stone. After a rough opening round, Crestwood, Kentucky’s Brian Byrne came roaring back with a second round 82 that included three birdies on the day. In the lead group, Todd and Jones exchanged blow after blow throughout the round. Todd stood on the tee on the par 5 finishing hole with a two-shot lead over Jones. Byrne was three back in the clubhouse. However, Todd’s route to victory ran aground as he stumbled to a closing triple bogey leading to a three-way playoff between Jones, Byrne and Todd. Redemption came quickly for Todd as the playoff returned to the same finishing hole to determine the winner. Todd’s tee shot found the fairway and he stuffed his third to 4 feet leaving himself with two putts for the playoff victory. Brent Stone of Collierville, TN jumped 8 spots with a final round 81 to grab a solo 4th finish.
Birmingham Chapter member Jana Hudson continued her string of impressive play winning her third event of the season and going back-to-back with her recent win at RTJ Hampton Cove’s River Course. Hudson faced a host of worthy competitors as Nashville members Andy Morris, John Kelsey, Rachel Guthrie and John Marshall all gave chase to the first round leader. Kelsey could not gain any ground on the outward nine, but a birdie on the difficult par four 1st (their 10th) provided a two shot swing that closed the gap. Two holes later Kelsey found himself with a one shot lead with six to play. However, the devilish front bunker on the short par four 5th (their 14th) derailed Kelsey’s momentum and gave the lead back to Hudson and she never looked back. Hudson tapped in on 18 in the final group of the event to secure the one-shot victory. Robbie Carlton from Rossville, Georgia and Brian Nabors of Memphis, TN posted the low rounds on Sunday with matching 88s.
The Amateur Players Tour wastes no time getting back into its major season with the APT Match Play hosted by the Dormie Network at Victoria National Golf Club in Newburgh, Indiana this coming weekend. Follow the action on the Amateur Players Tour app or our website at www.amateurplayerstour.com.