Murfreesboro pro wins in another close one
By KEITH WALTHER
There is something about this tournament. It seems no one can win by a comfortable margin.
In fact, the winner usually has white knuckles when he finally drops the final putt and is declared the winner of the Tennessee State Senior Open.
Never has a champion won by more than 1 stroke at the tournament and that record stood at Stonehenge Golf Course last week as Randy Helton of Murfreesboro captured the win by — you guessed it — one stroke.
With beautiful weather last Monday, Helton fired a superb round of 6-under 66. But Audie Johnson was right on his heels with a 67.
With some expected thunderstorms later in the afternoon on Tuesday, the tournament committee decided to place all pairings into groups of four and had everyone tee off by 9:40 A.M. It was a great decision — enabling them to be able to get the round in and the tourney finished.
Scores dipped in Round 2 but Helton held on, despite the windy conditions.
Helton had a five-stroke lead at one time during the second round. However, he double bogeyed the Par 5 15th hole but came back to birdie the 16th, before bogeying the final two holes.
Johnson (Mount Juliet) kept the pressure on with a birdie on hole 17 to get within 1 stroke of Randy Helton’s lead, but left another birdie putt short on the 18th hole for a chance to tie.
Helton took home $7,500 for winning his first Senior State Open.
Last year’s winner, Bill Breen, finished in a tie for third while Crossville’s representative, Eddie Wyatt, finished 33rd.
In the Super Senior Division (ages 65+), Ron Kilgore of Knoxville, TN recorded a two-day low score of 149 to claim the title and the first place purse of $600. He had some hard competition provided by Gary Pierce (Franklin, TN) and Tom Kammann (Baneberry, TN) who finished 2nd and 3rd, respectively. Ron Kilgore is now a 2-time defending champion at Stonehenge Golf Club.
Fairfield Glade and Stonehenge was again a wonderful host. In fact, on its website, the Tennessee PGA had this to say:
“We would like to recognize both the City of Crossville and the Fairfield Glade Community for their Title Sponsorship support, as well as all of the volunteers who helped make this tournament possible.
“Without their assistance, this tournament could not have been successful … We would also like to thank host PGA Professionals Warren Huddleston and Steve Kraft, Superintendent Sean VanHoose and the entire staff of Stonehenge Golf Course for their hard work the past two days.”