You never know what you'll see at The Honors Course — except beauty. That's the only guarantee.
So come on out, golf fans.
In this little forum I get to loosen my belt and unbuckle the restraints of writing from the beat-writer perspective.
This is the first time I'm doing it for a golf event. "Uch on the Road: A Mocs Blog" has been going for a couple years during my time covering UTC hoops. So this is both similar and different. Most of all, I hope it's informative.
Thoughts and observations from day one of the Southern Amateur at The Honors Course.
While we're young: Come on, players, you're young, you're fit, you walk all the time. Can you please help a writer with deadline by finishing in less than 5:30. Some rounds Wednesday approached six hours.
The Southern Golf Association is responsible for the set-up and the pin locations.
"They had full rein of setting it up, and you have to go with what they do," said Keith Mitchell, who probably has played more rounds on the course than anybody in the field. "It's the same course for everybody."
It had the pace of a college tournament. And college players are slower than juniors, mini-tour guys, PGA Tour guys and all the accomplished ladies combined.
Here's my favorite USGA promo for improved pace of play, which includes Clint Eastwood and Arnold Palmer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpUK47pnTMA
Start with a 2: There's no better way to begin a round at the Honors than with two circles around a 2 on the scorecard. Georgia State golfer Davin White started on No. 10 and holed out from the fairway.
Click off the club. Plunk landing. (Silent roll). Clink off the flagstick. Kerplunk.
His version: "I didn't hit a really good tee shot, but it was in the fairway. I had 190 yards and hit a 6-iron. I played it toward the middle hoping to catch the slope. I hit it perfectly and it went in the hole.
"Starting with a 2 is like you're starting off ahead of the field. On that hole, you're just looking for a 4. It was definitely relaxing after that shot."
He's four shots off the lead after the first round.
The oddity of his colorful scorecard is that he made only four pars all day.
And he wasn't playing Signal Mountain. He won the SMI in 2013.
DL III and DL IV: We saw you. We shot you (with a camera), and we'll miss you. Davis Love III caddied for Davis Love IV during the first round. Dru, as the son is known by his Alabama teammates, shot a 52 on the front nine but tallied a 38 on the back nine.
TFP photographer John Rawlston and I caught them on the 15th green, then let them go about their business. It would have been good to catch DL3 for a minute to get his thoughts on various topics. I would have contained the couple of minutes allotted to the round his son played and what Pete Dye created. But I made the decision to move along to the contenders. Sorry. I'll see DL3 in Augusta next April.
Playing through on 18: I've never seen this before. And I'm still confused about the full A-B-C-D of how it happened. But the 9:20 a.m. group played through the 9:10 group from their approach shots and putts on the 18th hole. There were nine people on the 18th green at one point. It all stemmed from an unclear decision as to how Stewart Jolly could take his stance in the rough. The ruling took so long that officials told the group behind to finish the hole.
Jolly said he wanted to back his way into getting a stance like a basketball player blocking out a defender, but brush was his defender. After back-and-forth discussions, he punched out into the fairway and back toward the teeing ground. He made a bogey.
"I sank a 20-footer," he said. "I'm happy to get away with a 70."
Uch math: It's 100 percent accurate 99.9 percent of the time. (Maybe 99.8 percent, if you ask my editors.)
The number is 17 -- There were 17 golfers who shot 74 on the first day. Another 17 golfers shot 75. And, yes, another 17 shot 76.
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 ...