The NCCGA South region kicked off its spring semester this past weekend at Silver Lakes, which is an outstanding Robert Trent Jones facility about an hour northeast of Birmingham, Ala. Silver Lakes has a unique layout with three nine hole courses: Mindbreaker, Backbreaker and Heartbreaker.
The first round took place on Saturday, March 1st on Mindbreaker and Heartbreaker. Those two nines played 6,912 yards with a slope of 140 and a course rating of 73.5. It was a very tough golf course to say the least; even with perfect weather in the upper 60s both days. The field was composed of only three teams and four individuals. Alabama was the favorite going into the tournament, and trying to defend their 2013 regional title. Tennessee Tech brought some solid players and after day one 'Bama only lead by 16 after day one. Tennessee-Knoxville stayed competitive, and trailed by 21 shots after the first round. Individually, Alabama's Pat Morris led after day one with and impressive +3 round of 75. Tech's Jonathan Wilhite shot 77 and trailed by 2.
The second round started with an 8:30 shotgun start on the same two nines: Mindbreaker and Heartbreaker. Even though the tees were moved up about 10 yards on each hole, the course still played extremely difficult. A 20-30 mph wind picked up just before making the turn and the whole field definitely suffered. Alabama held on for the win, shooting a two day total of 824(+104). Tennessee Tech finished second with a two-day total of 846(+126). Pat Morris shot a 79(+7) the second round and ended up with two day total of 154(+10), holding off Alabama's Garrett Stalling and Tennessee Tech's Jonathan Wilhite who tied for second with a two day totals of 163(+19).
The tournament ran smoothly thanks to the help of the Robert Trent Jones staff, and club pro. The course was in perfect shape, but may have proven too tough from the yardage we played it. I look forward to our second regional, which will be held April 12-13th at Centennial Golf Club in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Hopefully all the winter rust will be knocked off and we will see some more impressive scores.
Zach Chambliss is the Regional Coordinator of the NCCGA South Region. He can be reached at NCCGASouth@gmail.com or on Twitter @NCCGASouth.