published Thursday, July 25th, 2013

Ben Wolcott captures Choo-Choo title

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    Ben Wolcott hits his approach shot on the par-5, 13th during competition Wednesday in the Choo Choo Golf Invitational at Council Fire. Wolcott birdied the hole on his way to a 6-under 207 for the tournament.
    Photo by Tim Barber.
    enlarge photo

Ben Wolcott hasn't seriously considered all the things that he'll pack to begin his freshman year at Ole Miss in a few weeks.

Of course he'll take his golf clubs and all the essentials of moving to a new place including a few things to decorate his room.

But he'll leave behind the bronze eagle feather trophy that he won Wednesday at Council Fire Golf Club for winning the inaugural Choo-Choo Invitational.

"It's a unique trophy," said Wolcott, who shot a 6-under 207 through three rounds. "It's not going to the dorm because I would hate for it to get stolen. It will probably go on the mantle in our living room.

"And then I can rub it in [younger brother] Hunter's face a little bit."

Wolcott entered the final round with a two-shot lead over Vanderbilt sophomore Carson Jacobs and a four-shot lead over Tennessee Golf Hall of Famer Tim Jackson in a field full of talented college players and mid-amateurs.

Wolcott won by five strokes.

He shot a 1-under 70 in the only round during which the players stayed dry for the entire 18 holes.

"I played pretty conservative on the front nine then I played steady on the back and extra-conservative," said Wolcott, who made seven birdies and six bogeys in the final round. "I knew that if I was under par at the turn, then it would take somebody outside of my group going real low to catch me because Tim and Carson weren't going low.

"I figured that if I didn't make any big numbers on the back that I would find myself with the trophy at the end of the day."

He did just that.

University of Cincinnati sophomore Emerson Newsome tied for second at 1 under for the tournament with Vandy assistant coach Dustin Smith who tied or beat four players that played for the Commodores last season.

Jacobs tied for fourth with University of Tennessee at Chattanooga incoming freshman Stuart Thomas at even for the tournament.

Vandy sophomore Spencer Ciesla tied for sixth place with former Baylor School and Vandy golfer Ryan Thornton -- whose 4-under round on Wednesday topped the daily field -- and former Lee University golfer Caleb Roberson. Neil Spitalny won the 11-man senior division with a 5-over 218.

"It feels really good and it's going to boost my confidence coming into the fall knowing that I can play well at this course," said Stuart, who graduated from Farragut High School. "It's great knowing that I can already come out here and compete with the college players in this tournament and beat them."

But he couldn't beat Wolcott.

Contact David Uchiyama at duchiyama@timesfreepress.com or at 423-757-6484. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP.

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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