DRG Golf Challenge enjoys seventh year

By Wes Holtsclaw

   JONESBOROUGH -- There are several golf tournaments in the area that cater to organizations. Perhaps none could stack up to the quality of the Doe River Gorge.
   In its seventh annual campaign, the Doe River Gorge Golf Challenge really took a hold of its name Monday afternoon, as golfers tried to tame The Ridges Golf Course in Jonesborough.
   All of the event's proceeds went towards funding the ministry and students involved with Doe River Gorge each summer. The Challenge was sponsored by Citizen's Bank, SleepZone and the Johnson City Health and Fitness Center.
   Media sponsors of the event were Newschannel 11, Citadel Broadcasting, WCQR and the Elizabethton STAR.
   "It was a fun day of golf," said tournament organizer Steve McAuley. "It was a select-shot format and every bit of the proceeds support the ministry of the students at the Gorge."
   The Gorge provides several events throughout each summer, helping young people ages 8-18 grow a closer relationship with God. It's a very worthy cause and a tremendous camp for all of those involved.
   "It's a great event and the seventh annual," McAuley said. "Every year it gets bigger and better. The weather was superb and we've got to give special thanks to our major sponsors as well as Trophy Shop, Fast Signs, Don Hill Enterprises, George Gregory and the planning committee and volunteers."
   There were 104 golfers in the tournament, separated into 26 teams and three flights.
   The golfers had their lunch catered by Gardner Paint Services with a buffet awards dinner catered by Firehouse Restaurant in Johnson City.
   Mike Perry from Christian radio station WCQR served as the program's emcee.
   As for the golf, with a round of 58, the group of Jeff Blackburn, Steve Carter, Dane Brown and Sam Gregg won the first flight of the tournament.
   Brett Sizemore, Scotty Willis, Dave McCauley and Randy Humphries were second with a 63, while Scott Greer, Jimmy Jones, John Hutchins and Mike Phipps finished third with a 64.
   In the second flight, three groups tied with a 65, but with the total birdie calculation, the WJHL group of Kenny Hawkins, Chris McIntosh, Phil Schoener, and Jay Sandos placed first.
   Mark McQuain, Todd Fowler, Jon Cox and Colin Doran finished second, and Harold Smith, Josh Herbert, Larry Grahan and John Bunn finished third.
   Phil Blevins, Daniel Lewis, Ken Lyon and Jim Hawley took first in the third flight with a score of 67.
   Doug Vaugh, Ronnie Tygert, Todd Hensley and Rick Belcher placed second with a 68, while Pete Nickels, Mike Lane, Mike White and Keith Buck shot a 69 for third.
   There were four closest-to-the-pin contests, as well as a long drive and long put competition.
   The closest pin contest on the third hole saw Josh Hebert place first with a seven-foot, ten-inch shot. Heinz Lohman (13'3") was second, Ron Jacobs (15'5") was third and Mike Phipps (16'2") was second.
   The closest pin contest at the seventh hole had Larry Reynolds earn the top honor with a one foot, five inch spot away. Jim Richardson (2'3") and Logan McCabe (12'4") round out the hole.
   On the twelfth hole, Lohman (10'9") placed first followed by Jim Cash (11'7"), Sid Davidson (16'4"), Ferrill Harrison (19'7"). Wayne Epperson (5'5") took the sixteenth hole, while Ronnie Tygalt (11'9") and Lohman (44'3") round out the competition.
   The longest drive contest took place on the sixth hole, where Jerry Caldwell took the title. Scott Wills and John Cox round out the event.
   Allen Vitletoe won the longest putt outing at the fifteenth hole, and Rick Belchera finished second.
   The people of Doe River Gorge wished to thank all of the participants for assisting their cause, and The Ridges Golf and Country Club for hosting their event.