JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Overcast skies seemed to threaten a rain delay on the golfers at Johnson City Country Club for the Final Round of the 2022 Tillinghast Invitational on Sunday.
But, the inclement weather held off, allowing Matt Mitchell to shoot an eight-under, bogey-free round en route to a victory.
“Based on yesterday’s scores and what they’ve done in the past here – I thought I probably needed ten-under,” he said.
Instead, Mitchell’s cumulative score of 135 (-9) was enough to take home the hardware by three strokes.
“It’s the kind of course that favors me, because you don’t have to hit it overly long – you’ve just gotta be kind of smart with it,” he said afterwards. “I mean, on 16 I hit 7-iron off the tee on both days and took big number out of play.”
“Instead of hitting a driver, 3 Wood and trying to drive the green, I was just like – be a little conservative,” he smiled. “And it paid off.”
A native of Middle Tennessee, Mitchell had never played in the Tillinghast Invitational prior to this weekend.
“I had hear about the golf course, a buddy of mine played last year and really enjoyed it,” he said. “I’m a tournament player – I just like to play tournaments, with varying success. But, today – this weekend – was pretty good.”
Mitchell had already started his round two-under through seven holes before hitting his stride. He would birdie five of the next seven holes – including a three-hole stretch on 12, 13 and 14.
And he did it all after switching to a new putter following his First Round score of 71.
“I’m kind of a tinkerer a little bit,” he said. “I usually have a couple of putters with me and I’ve been trying to find the right weight … and just decided ‘You know what, I couldn’t putt any worse than I did yesterday,'” he explained.
“I’ve been on the Tennessee Challenge Cup teams a couple times in the last couple years,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of good Top-5 finishes in the last few years, I just haven’t had a ‘W’ in a while – so it’s nice to get one.”
Ty Beasley and 18-hole leader, Mark McDearman, each finished tied for second with a score of 138 (-6). Beasley shot a 67 on Sunday, while McDearman finished his final round at even par.
The pair of Jack Smith and Travis Womble carded a 139 (-5) on the weekend, finishing tied for fourth.
2021 winner and the defending East Tennessee Amateur champion, Jackson Skeen, finished with a 140 (-4) in a tie for sixth place.
You can view the full results from the tournament here.