2019 TN State Open Winner, Hunter Green

Former MTSU golfer Hunter Green storms back to win Tennessee Open

DICKSON – When Hunter Green started his final round at the 71st annual Tennessee State Open on Thursday, winning the tournament wasn’t the first thing on his mind.

Not because he didn’t believe in his own abilities, but entering the last day seven strokes back in a state championship requires a herculean comeback effort.

That’s exactly what Green put together.

The Rhea County High School and Middle Tennessee State University product turned in the low round of the day at GreyStone Golf Club – an eight-under, 64 – to storm up the leaderboard. 

He claimed the Tennessee Open title on the first playoff hole over Brad Hawkins of Knoxville when he sank a birdie putt on No. 10.

It marked the first professional victory for Green.

“It’s just crazy,” Green said.  “You’re not thinking about winning, I don’t think, when you are seven back starting the day.”

“I birdied the first four holes and just got it going from there.  All in all, every part of my game was clicking today.  It’s great to get that monkey off my back as far as my first professional win.  Now let’s see what we can do the rest of the year.”

Green finished the 54 holes of regulation at 14-under, 202, as did Hawkins, a former standout at Tusculum University in Greeneville. 

Green’s final round 64 set a new tournament record for lowest final 18-hole score by the tournament winner.  The previous mark was 65, held by Mike Nelms in 1981, Bryce Ledford in 2009 and Grant Leaver in 2010.

Green started Thursday with four straight birdies and added two more on holes 8 and 9 to make the turn at 12-under for the tournament.  He birdied 11 and 17 in addition to seven pars on the back nine to post a 14-under in the clubhouse.

Hawkins had already posted a 14-under two groups early.  With only three groups remaining on the course, the two competitors then waited to see what Round Two leader Hunter Wolcott would do.

Wolcott entered the final round at 13-under, one stroke ahead of his brother Ben Wolcott and two strokes ahead of Doug Barron.

That final group never could get anything going on Thursday, though, as all three players shot even par, 72.

Hunter Wolcott was at 15-under at one point after birdies on 9, 11 and 12.  However he bogeyed 15 to drop into a three-way tie with Hawkins and Green with the latter two already in the clubhouse.

Wolcott parred 16 and 17, needing a birdie on 18 to win outright and a par to get into a playoff.  His par putt just missed on the low side though, dashing the storybook hopes he had of winning on his home course in front of a large crowd that had amassed to cheer him on.

Wolcott finished in a tie with Hunter Richardson (Clarksville) for third at 13-under.  Wolcott was the top-finishing amateur.

Ben Wolcott (Burns) tied for fifth with 2016 tournament champion Jason Millard (Murfreesboro) at 12-under. 

There were six players tied for seventh place at 11-under, including former champion Ledford.  Joining him were East Tennessee State University golfer Austin Carter (Kingsport), UNC-Charlotte golfer Trey Tobias (Franklin), Barron (Germantown), Bobby Cochran (Germantown), and Connor Froning (Knoxville).

Green played for Tennessee Golf Foundation president Whit Turnbow when Turnbow was the men’s golf coach at MTSU.  His senior year (2011-12) he won two tournaments and was 11th in the nation in scoring average.  Prior to arriving in Murfreesboro, he won two TSSAA individual state titles at Rhea County High School.

Since graduating from MTSU, Green has been trying to make it playing professional golf.  His immediate future plans involve mini tours and Monday qualifiers.

Green is the second consecutive MTSU product to win the Tennessee Open, joining last year’s winner Joey Savoie.

“I kind of lost my way there for a little while (after college) but I think I’m fighting back,” Green said.  “Things feel good right now, so I’m excited to see what the rest of the year holds.”

“Confidence is everything in this game, and momentum is everything.  Having both of those right now is going to be good.”

A total of 18 players reached double digits under par for the tournament.  Fifty-three players finished at under par or better.

FINAL SCORING: https://www.golfgenius.com/pages/1860515

2019 TENNESSEE OPEN
GREYSTONE GOLF CLUB

DICKSON, TENN.

FINAL ROUND, JUNE 6

Hunter Green                     68-70-64–202 (won on first playoff hole)

Brad Hawkins                     69-68-65–202

Hunter Richardson           69-68-66–203

Hunter Wolcott (a)          63-68-72–203

Jason Millard                      68-70-66–204

Ben Wolcott                       66-66-72–204

Austin Carter (a)               67-68-70–205

Trey Tobias (a)                   65-69-71–205

Doug Barron                       70-63-72–205

Bobby Cochran                  68-69-68–205

Connor Froning                 72-66-67–205

Bryce Ledford                    71-66-68–205

Paul Apyan                          65-73-68–206

Casey Flenniken                67-71-68–206

Ryan Hall (a)                       72-65-69–206

Brooks Thomas                  66-70-70–206

Bryce Lewis (a)                  72-69-65–206

Jack Rhea (a)                      66-70-70–206

Tyler Johnson (a)              70-71-66–206

Stoney Crouch                   67-73-68–208

Nolan Ray (a)                     67-67-74–208

Lake Johnson                     70-72-66–208