Entering the final round of the Hollytree Men’s Club Golf Championship, Dr. Joe Smith found himself in seventh place, some six strokes behind the leader.
With his short game working and thoughts of the late eight-time club champion Jimmy Wheeler in his head, Smith became a first-time winner of the annual event on Sunday at Hollytree Country Club.
Also, John McKinley won his third seniors title, the first since 2014.
Smith fired a final round of 2-over 74 and bolted to the top of the leaderboard, winning the coveted prize by two strokes over two-time winner Paul Manziel. Second-round leader Jerry Hudgins and 2013 champion Ryan Slaughter tied for third.
“I want to dedicate this to Jimmy Wheeler,” said Smith, of the longtime Tylerite and former SMU golfer who passed away last month. “I remember playing a junior tournament when I was about 8 with his son, Austin Wheeler, in a group of four. On the first hole, someone had a 14. … I remember asking him if he got an 11 and Mr. Wheeler said it was a 14. He taught me every shot counted whether it was a five, 11 or 14. He loved the game of golf.”
Smith finished with a 54-hole total of 10-over 226 on the beautiful but tough Hollytree course. Plus, the humidity and heat were a big concern, but the golfers battled it out.
Smith added, “My short game was (working this weekend). If I got it close, I was confident I was going to make it.”
The former Grace Community School golfer was the only one who carded under 80 in the championship field on Sunday. He had previous rounds of 76.
Manziel, who won the title in 2004 and 2005, carded an 80 and finished two strokes behind Smith, a local dentist who attended TCU and Baylor College of Dentistry in Dallas. Manziel had a three-day total of 12-over 228.
Hudgins and Slaughter finished tied for third at 13-over 229. Bill Sharpe placed fifth at 15-over 231 and three-time champion Reggie Howell (2003, 2011, 2014) placed sixth at 16-over 232.
Other champions in the field were Chris Ewert (2012) and last year’s winner Mike Custer.
McKinley had a final round of 73 for a 36-hole total of 152 to capture the Seniors Championship. John McDaniel was second at 164 (82-82). The net champion was Bob Temkow.
Bill Tankersley won the First Flight, while John Oberg was the net winner.
In the Second Flight, Jeremy Thomas took the top prize with Carl Gray capturing the net title.
Men’s Club Golf Championship
Hollytree Country Club
Championship Flight - Joe Smith, 76-76-74-226; Paul Manziel, 71-77-80-228; Jerry Hudgins, 75-71-83-229; Ryan Slaughter, 74-75-80-229; Bill Sharpe, 73-74-84-231; Reggie Howell, 78-73-81-232; Wes Alexander, 74-80-80-234; John Carlton, 73-78-84-235; Mike Custer, 75-81-81-237; James Mills, 74-79-86-239; Jason Yearty, 76-81-82-239; David Bridges, 79-79-82-240; Chris Ewert, 79-82-82-243; Jonathan Hill, 78-86-80-244; Mike Russell, 86-85-84-255; George McMann, 76-95-85-256; David Melton, 87-107-86-280.
First Flight - Gross: 1, Bill Tankersley, 81-77--158; 2, John Holt, 81-82-163. Net: 1, John Oberg, 74-73-147; 2, Jeff Lancaster, 76-73-149.
Second Flight - Gross: 1, Jeremy Thomas, 79-82-161; 2, Dewayne Stephens, 82-84-169. Net: 1, Carl Gray, 75-70-145; 2, Michael Huffman, 75-71--146.
Senior Flight - Gross: 1, John McKinley, 79-73--152; 2, John McDaniel, 82-82-161. Net: 1, Bob Temkow, 71-69--140; 2, Robert Greening, 71-74-145.