published Monday, October 7th, 2013

Putting display lands Matt Crowder a Chattanooga TPC golf title

  • photo
    Brandon Cissom chips out of a sand trap at the Cleveland Country Club on Sunday afternoon on his way to winning the Cleveland Invitation golf tournament.
    Photo by John Rawlston.
    enlarge photo

Brandon Cissom admired his Chattanooga TPC runner-up trophy and joked that it would make for an excellent wine glass or perfect for margaritas.

Then he asked Matt Crowder what his trophy looked like.

"It's a lot like yours," Crowder deadpanned, "Only it's bigger."

Crowder won the 21st Chattanooga TPC championship on Sunday at Council Fire Golf Club by defeating Cissom 1-up with an impressive putting display down over the final holes to win the season-ending tournament.

He swept in about a 60-foot putt from the front left front of the green to the back right location of the cup on the 18th hole for a birdie and raised his putter in celebration. Cissom missed his 25-foot birdie attempt my an inch to the left.

"I just wanted to get it close, then it looked like it was going to go in and I just watched it drop," said Crowder, who grew up in Paris, Tenn., played a year of baseball at Lambuth University before transferring and playing one season at Cleveland State. "It seemed like everything went in today. The hole seemed huge."

Crowder, who rode down from Cleveland to East Brainerd with Cissom, had the lead in the championship match twice -- after No. 9 for one hole and then at the very end.

"It's awkward playing one of your good friends especially when he whips your tail," Cissom said. "Really, I can't say a word. I'm shocked.

"At the end, he shook my hand and he said, 'I'm shaking right now.'"

Why? He's not used hoisting the big trophy.

"I won match play at Nob North, but it's a handicapped tournament," said Crowder, a 30-year-old who defeated Jay Potter in 20 holes during the morning semifinals. "And I may have won a Junior PGA or a Junior Vince Gill tournament when I was a kid, but nothing like this."

Cissom -- who defeated Joe Markham Jr. 3 and 2 in the semifinals -- went ahead 1-up when Crowder missed the first of three straight greens and suffered a bogey. But Crowder made a 15-foot par save on No. 15 to win the hole. He made a 10-foot par save on No. 16 to halve the hole.

He pulled his tee shot left and below the green on the par-3 17th, then chipped up and made about a 20-foot putt to tie Cissom. His second shot to the par-5 18th splashed into a green-side bunker and he barely placed his third shot on the green.

Then he buried one of the most unlikeliest putts on the course to win. That's an estimated total of 90 feet of putts over the last three holes.

"I figured a two-putt would get us to the next hole," Crowder said.

No extra holes were needed.

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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