Rice Defends Home Turf At Tennessee Senior Match Play Championship

  • Tuesday, October 3, 2023
  • Paul Payne
Bob Rice is the co-leader after the opening round of the Tennessee Senior Match Play Championship at Cleveland Country Club.
Bob Rice is the co-leader after the opening round of the Tennessee Senior Match Play Championship at Cleveland Country Club.
photo by courtesy Tennessee Golf Association

Bob Rice was hoping his familiarity with Cleveland Country Club’s layout would serve as an advantage with this week’s Tennessee Senior Match Play Championship being played on his home course. But in Tuesday’s first of two rounds of qualifying, Rice found himself struggling over the opening holes on friendly turf.

Sitting at three-over after four holes, Rice returned to the form that earned him the 2016 championship in this event to shoot four-under the rest of the way thanks to a quartet of birdies and no more blemishes on his scorecard. The Pikeville resident sits atop the leaderboard tied with Gallatin’s Tom Paulsen after posting a 1-under 71.

Paulsen had a more adventurous path to his score of 71. The Tenneseee Grasslands member tallied six birdies, three bogeys and a double-bogey to find his way to the top line of the leaders. Birdies on the last two holes closed Paulsen’s round to deadlock him with Rice.

Four golfers tied for third at 1-over 73 include Knoxville’s John Thomas, Brainerd Golf Club’s Tom Schreiner, Tim Collins of Germantown and Scott McGihon of Thompson’s Station.

Those at 2-over 74 tied for seventh are defending champion Mike Poe of Loudon, Knoxville’s Bryan Rodgers and Steve Golliher of Powell.

The second qualifying round on Wednesday will determine those moving into match play as the top 16 finishers after 36 holes will advance.

Chattanooga’s Harry Hill claimed first-day honors in the Super Senior Match Play Championship, carding a 2-under 70 to hold a two-stroke lead. The Council Fire Golf Club member navigated the course in tidy fashion, recording three birdies and a lone bogey on his day.

Nashville’s Jack Neinken is second after an even par 72, which is even more remarkable considering he opened with a triple-bogey on the par 5 first hole. Tim Dinwiddie of Afton stands in third place after turning in a 2-over 74.

Two-time defending champion Tom Baird of Signal Mountain is among five golfers tied for fourth at 3-over 75. Joining Baird is this year’s Super Senior Amateur champion, Buzz Fly of Memphis, Tony Green of Kingsport, Lyman Fulton of Johnson City and Mike Freels of Chuckey.

The top eight finishers following Wednesday’s round move into match play beginning on Thursday.

For complete results, go to https://www.golfgenius.com/pages/3991897

Paul Payne can be emailed at paulpayne6249@gmail.com

Chattanooga's Harry Hill leads the Tennessee Super Senior Match Play division after day one.
Chattanooga's Harry Hill leads the Tennessee Super Senior Match Play division after day one.
photo by courtesy Tennessee Golf Association
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