North Carolina wins ‘Battle of the Smokies’ media golf challenge

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North Carolina got off to a strong start and cruised to a 34½-25½ victory over Tennessee in the 2019 Battle of the Smokies Media Golf Challenge, held April 28-30 at Rumbling Bald Resort on Lake Lure.

The victory gives North Carolina a 5-4 all-time lead in the series, which pits teams of media from North Carolina and Tennessee in four rounds of friendly Ryder Cup-style matches.

Jeff Smith of UNC-TV sealed the title for the Tar Heel squad on Monday afternoon’s final hole of alternate shot matches. Smith rolled in a 15-foot par putt to score the deciding point in the challenge, regardless of what happened in Tuesday morning’s final matches.

After hoisting the coveted black bear trophy Tuesday morning, NC captain Trent Bouts of Carolinas Green magazine reflected on the enjoyment of playing these matches over the years.

“It’s just incredible camaraderie and incredible hospitality we experience at this event,” Bouts said. “I’ve been on teams that haven’t come out on top, so it was nice that everything clicked for us this year. I’m very proud of the team.”

The matches were contested on both championship courses at Rumbling Bald Resort – Bald Mountain and Apple Valley. The resort co-hosted the Battle with the Rutherford County Tourism Development Authority.

“Rumbling Bald’s spectacular mountain setting on Lake Lure makes it an ideal venue,” Bouts said. “We had a great time. It’s very relaxing, and I think golfers of all abilities would enjoy a visit here.”

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