By Matt Hill
Mark Baggerly had taken a break from competitive golf and had become more known for being the father of a top junior golfer, but he was back in full form this weekend at the Johnson City Country Club during the Tillinghast Invitational.
Baggerly came into Sunday’s final round with a one-shot lead, and ended up winning by two in what was a close battle with Carlson Cox and Lawrence Largent.
Baggerly carded a two day total of 136 while Cox and Largent each pulled in a 138.
Baggerly’s 12-year old daughter, Addison, has been burning up the junior circuit and she recently won the East Tennessee Middle School championship.
Addison was Mark’s caddy on Sunday, and the father-daughter duo won this prestigious championship together.
“It felt good,” Baggerly said. “I guess I’ve been living vicariously through my daughter. She’s been playing a lot and I have been following her, but it was great to be under the heat again and Carlson and Richard (Lowe) were great guys to play with. Carlson has a great career ahead of him.
“It was great to have Addison caddying for me. It was good for her to win the east regionals, and it was fun for me to play competitive golf again.”
Baggerly held a one-shot lead over Cox heading into No. 18. Cox took the pressure off Baggerly with a bogey. This made Baggerly’s par putt attempt one with a lot more at ease to think about.
“I was disappointed with my shot at 18, the wind was really blowing and I hit it pretty good. I’ve gotten it on before and three-putted. It was a tough putt,” Baggerly said.
Cox and Baggerly definitely had a back and forth battle with Largent in the next to last group lurking, but Baggerly left the Johnson City Country Club with a lot of respect for Cox, who plays at University of Memphis, and his game.
“He’s a great young player,” Baggerly said. “He’s got one more year ahead of him, and he’s going to try and turn pro. He’s a great player, he’s going to have a great career ahead of him. I had to hang in with him most of the day, and I was pretty steady in the front and we were going back and forth.”
It was a great tournament for Baggerly, and he loved the course conditions, except for the constant wind that occurred.
“The course was great and it was very fair,” he said. “The course was very difficult with the wind.”
The senior championship was won by Tim Dinwiddie who carded a weekend score of 144, two shots better than Ron Waters and three strokes better than Jim Brown.
The most dramatic victory of the day probably happened in the Senior First Flight by Johnson City’s Joe Avento.
Avento, who has been playing amateur golf for many years in the Tri-Cities, came from seven strokes back at the beginning of the day to win in a playoff on the third extra hole.
The victory was Avento’s first in amateur play. It was also the first amateur senior tournament for the Johnson City Press sportswriter since turning 50 last month.
Avento plans to play the senior division of the East Tennessee Amateur after years of competing in match play competition.
It was also a good day for another one of Johnson City’s well-known personalities, who was showing off his talents on the golf course.
ETSU head tennis coach Yassar Zaatinti won the first flight with a score of 156. He has led the ETSU men and women to several NCAA Tournament bids, and now he has a golf title to go along with that hardware.
Brian Meade won the second flight and Michael Vaughn won the third flight.
The Amateur Tour heads to Link Hills Country Club in Greeneville next weekend.
SHANKS ACADEMY GOLF TOURNAMENT COMING IN JULY
Three-time East Tennessee Amateur winner Adam Shanks will be holding a tournament to help fund his new golf academy at Elizabethton Golf Course.
The tournament will feature an A-Division and a B-Division with the cost being $600 per team and $200 per person and for the A-Division and $100 per person and $300 per team for the B-Division.
The tournament will take place on Friday, July 13 with a lunch being at 12 noon and a shotgun start is at 2 p.m. There will be a bluegrass band and free drinks.
“We want to make everyone aware of the golf academy,” Shanks said. “There will be a putting contest, a wedge contest and a long drive contest. We want to attract as many people as we can and make people aware of the academy.
“Basically when I started I was going to go in with an investor and have a whole computer set up do videos, but then I decided to put my own money into it. Come winter time I’m hoping to raise the money to buy computer training aids that is going to make the academy a lot better.”
For more information, call Adam at 946-5165 or EGC at 542-8051.
DOE RIVER GORGE TOURNAMENT BACK AT THE RIDGES
The highly successful fundraiser golf tournament for Doe River Gorge Christian Camp in Hampton is back at the Blackthorn Club at The Ridges.
The tournament takes place on Monday, June 18 starting at 11 a.m. with a shotgun start and lunch on the course. At 4 p.m. an awards dinner will happen when all the golfers are in.
Cost is $200 per player and $800 per corporate team and includes benefits like greens fee, cart rental, lunch and beverages, golfer goody bag, door prizes, quality golf shirt, buffet awards dinner and special hole-in-one prizes.
Several different levels of sponsorship are available.
Proceeds go to run the very popular Christian camp that has served Carter County kids and kids from surrounding counties for many years.
Many youth groups and College Campus Christian groups hold retreats at the camp every year.
For more information, contact Tim Richardson at firstname.lastname@example.org
HEAR THAT TIGER ROAR
I will admit that due to covering the Tillinghast Sunday at the Johnson City Country Club, I didn’t get to watch much of the final round of The Memorial, but what I did see showed me that Tiger Woods has recovered from his swing problems and marital troubles and is a threat at major championships.
I kind of blew his Bay Hill Tournament win off as a win in a weaker tournament, but this is one of the crown jewels of the PGA Tour and Woods seems to have conquered his demons against the world’s best.
It’s ironic that Ohio hosts two big golf tournaments, this one and the Bridgestone Invitational, and combined he has double digit victories at those two events.
Oh yeah, he also tied Jack Nicklaus on the all-time win list with his triumph in Dublin.
The swagger on Sunday seemed to be back, and the intimidation factor he had lost seems to have returned.
Most of the talk this year has been of the young guns like Rickie Fowler, but now the conversation has shifted back toward Tiger for the upcoming U.S. Open.
We’ll see if Woods’ win was a fluke like some of the others. This time, I tend to believe it’s not.
This time Woods looks fully engaged in the task at hand. He seems focused on the prize, a prize that could be his in 12 days in San Francisco.
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Matt Hill is the golf and tennis columnist for the Elizabethton Star. You can reach him at email@example.com.