Johnson Is Senior Champion at Signal Mountain; Terry’s Late Charge Wins Championship Flight

  • Sunday, May 19, 2024
  • Paul Payne
Steve Johnson
Steve Johnson
photo by Paul Payne

The short second hole at Signal Mountain Golf and Country Club had been a nemesis for Steve Johnson for two straight days, so he decided to take a different approach on Sunday.

Johnson had previously left his driver in the bag on the 288-yard par four, but the conservative route had produced a combined five-over par with a bogey on Friday and a quadruple-bogey the second round.

Choosing the big stick off the tee resulted in a short pitch shot that led to a birdie, jumpstarting Johnson’s round of 4-under 67 on his way to a seven-shot victory in the Senior Flight of the Signal Mountain Men’s Invitational. His final score was 2-under 211, the only golfer in his flight finish in red numbers.

“I decided to hit driver today, and I felt really good when I made birdie there,” Johson said. “I had a five the first round by leaving it short and I had an ugly eight there yesterday. Making birdie gave me some confidence, and I made a birdie on the next hole, too.”

Entering the final round tied with Bob Rice, Johnson made the turn in 33 to seize a five-stroke advantage. The Lookout Mountain Club member then removed any doubt as to the outcome with three straight birdies starting at No. 12.

“It’s good to win again,” said Johnson, who was part of the victorious combo at last year’s Swing Ding and won the Brainerd Invitational a couple of years ago. “I struck the ball really well and made some good putts, so it was a fun weekend.”

Johnson hopes his strong play will continue through the summer with his eye on the U.S. Senior Amateur to be held at The Honors Course in August.

“I’m signed up for the (Tennessee) Senior Am at Memphis Country Club, and I’ve got the Metro at Lookout Mountain with a U.S. Am qualifier there a few days later,” Johnson said. “So, I’m looking forward to these next few months.”

Rice and Scott Patton tied for second at 5-over 218, while Tom Baird and Shonn Weldon both finished at 8-over 221 in a deadlock for fourth. Defending champion Joe Markham was sixth after closing with an aggregate of 10-over 223.

In the Championship Flight, Ryan Terry shot 67 to overcome a two-stroke deficit to defending champion Thad Whitfield with three holes to play to win with 11-under 202.

Whitfield, who closed with a 71, stumbled down the stretch with bogeys on three of his last four holes to finish at 10-under 203.

Trailing Whitfield by three shots entering the final round, Terry cut the gap to two with a front-nine 34. But the momentum shifted when Terry birdied the par 4 16th while Whitfield carded a bogey. After both golfers parred No. 17, the outcome was decided when Whitfield bogeyed the final hole and Terry managed a par.

Jack Morris and Grant Leaver finished in a tie for third with 9-under 204, followed by Michael Morrison and Andrew Weathers who posted a final score of 6-under 207 to tie for fifth.

The next event on the Chattanooga District Golf Association schedule will be the North Georgia Invitational at Dalton Golf and Country Club slated for June 1-2.

For complete results, to go Signal Mtn Results.

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Paul Payne can be emailed at paulpayne6249@gmail.com

Championship Flight winner Ryan Terry with his daughter
Championship Flight winner Ryan Terry with his daughter
photo by contributed by SMG&CC
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