published Saturday, April 30th, 2011

Robertson set to defend Brainerd Invitational title

Matt Robertson played his only competitive round of golf this year in the State Open qualifier at Council Fire.

He didn’t advance.

Yet he’s not concerned as he gets back in competitive mode to defend his crown as the Brainerd Invitational champion.

“I’m treating golf like I did last year, which was basically put the clubs away for a few months and don’t touch them at all,” the former Lee University player said. “Then when it warms up, I get the bug to play again.”

He’s not the only golfer to get the competitive itch after the Masters. More than 100 competitors have entered this Brainerd Invitational, which is an increase of more than 25 from last year.

“I was scared we’d have only four guys sign up,” tournament co-director Richard Keene joked. “We’re thrilled to death to have this many guys. And it’s a deep field, too. It’s going to be exciting.”

The 2010 tournament required a playoff. Due to inclement weather in Saturday’s first round, not everybody finished, so players kept the same groups on Sunday. Robertson posted a 6-under-par 138 and then sat around for the rest of the field to finish.

Playing in one of the final groups, Brendon Wilson matched Robertson’s total. But Wilson couldn’t match Robertson’s par in the playoff.

“I grabbed lunch, chipped and putted and hung out in the clubhouse,” Robertson said. “I hung out a long time.”

There could be some waiting time this weekend on the course. Storms topped a large tree in front of the typical teeing ground at No. 4. So it likely will play as a 291-yard par-4 — a drivable par-4 for some in the field.

The rest of the course should play as it always does during the tournament. Few other trees or limbs should be in play, unless tee shots fly errant.

“The staff has done a great job cleaning up after the storms,” Keene said. “There will be a few spots of ground under repair, but you probably don’t want to go there anyway.

“Somebody is going to have to play really well to win.”

about David Uchiyama...

David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...

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