published Sunday, May 18th, 2014

Spangler leads rainy Signal Mountain Invitational tourney

Umbrellas were everywhere Saturday at Signal Mountain Golf and Country Club.

They were necessary.

So were dry towels, rain pants, rain shirts, rain gloves, warm clothes, hand-warmers and anything else that could help participants in the 2014 Signal Mountain Invitational hit a golf ball.

A steady rain persisted for most of the day and particularly hampered golfers who played in the early groups. Course superintendent Pat Rose said about half an inch of rain fell between 10:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.

"It was a fight to keep grips dry," Brandon Cissom said. "I had two towels, a cover for my clubs, a short-sleeved rainshirt and a long-sleeved one which I wore."

Those with later tee times had a chance to attack a soft golf course, but that didn't matter. The rain, and the winds of Friday, impacted the scores.

After two days of unkind weather, only two golfers are under par through 36 holes.

Richard Spangler has shot back-to-back rounds of 2-under-par 69 and leads Steve Johnson by two strokes. Michael McGowan is third at 1-over 143. He's followed by Andy White and Cissom, who shot 144. Mitch Hufstetler leads the senior division at 3 over.

"I was in so much clothing to start that I couldn't make a good swing," Spangler said. "It was really hard to keep everything dry. I know it affected a few shots because my right hand was wet.

"You make tentative swings, and I didn't hit it where I wanted to."

The rain subsided after about six holes of Spangler's round. Then he made a decision to improve his day.

"I'd rather play good and be cold than sit out here and slap at the ball," Spangler said. "I made a good swing on No. 7 and my round was good from there."

Spangler bogeyed two of his first six holes. He made the turn at 1 over. Then he went on a run of success with birdies on Nos. 11 and 12, an eagle on No. 13 and another birdie on No. 14. But he bogeyed Nos 15 and 16.

"This is my tournament like Phil [Mickelson] has the U.S. Open," Spangler said. "I've finished second here twice."

Contact David Uchiyama at or 423-757-6484. Follow him at

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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