Tusculum wins third straight Bob Dibble Classic, Bolden falls in nine-hole playoff for medalist

Tusculum wins third straight Bob Dibble Classic, Bolden falls in nine-hole playoff for medalist

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- The Tusculum men's golf team led wire-to-wire to win the 2017 Bob Dibble Classic Tuesday at Link Hills Country Club.

The Pioneers fired a team score of 575, including Tuesday's final round 289 to win by five strokes over runner-ups Christian Brothers and Mars Hill who posted team scores of 580.

For the individual medal, Mars Hill sophomore Harry Butler tapped in for a two-putt birdie on the ninth playoff hole in edging Tusculum sophomore Anthony Bolden.  Butler, who captures his second medalist title of the young season, fired a two-under par 69 to finish with a three-under par 139 for the tournament to match Bolden.

The playoff started on the 18th hole and progressed to the front nine where both competitors would match each other shot for shot and hole for hole for over 90 grueling minutes.  The duo matched each other with pars on the first four playoff holes.  Bolden was in trouble on the par-3 third hole where he was 15 yards right of the green next to a fence, while Butler was on the front collar of the green.  Butler would get up and down for his par, but Bolden hit a wedge to below the hole where he drained a 12-footer for par.

They would both birdie the fourth hole and par the difficult fifth before heading to the par-3 sixth hole. Neither hit the surface of the green on their tee shots and both would bogey sending the playoff to an eighth hole. On hole no. 7, Butler put his shot to within 15-feet of the cup while Bolden landed his 10 feet away.  Butler drained his birdie putt, forcing Bolden to answer with a three of his own to extend the playoff.

On the par-5 eighth hole, both competitors landed their tee shots side-by side in the middle of the fairway 165 yards away from the green.  Bolden went first as his second shot landed pin-high, but 10-yards right of the green on the side of a hill.  Butler landed his second shot just 18-feet away for a chance at an eagle 3.  Bolden faced a difficult downhill stance as he flopped a wedge to within seven-feet from the hole.  Butler's eagle putt burned the right side of the cup as he tapped in for his birdie 4.  Bolden's birdie bid went left of the cup to end the playoff.

Joining Butler and Bolden on the All-Tournament team where the trio of Caleb Brown (Spartanburg Methodist), Jackson Singletary (Christian Brothers), and Gibson Miller (Milligan) who all tied for third place at one-under par 141.

In the team competition, Belmont Abbey B finished fourth with 581, followed by Milligan (583), Walters State (589), Tennessee Wesleyan (592), Brevard (595), Belmont Abbey C (599), Spartanburg Methodist (614) and Tusculum B (620).  The Tusculum B team posted the best improvement from Monday's round, shaving 24 shots from the opening day to finish with a 298 on Tuesday.

For the Pioneers, senior Brandon Alexander tied for 12th place with 73-72=145.  Senior David Whinery posted an even par 71 to finish with 147 and a 20th place showing.  Sophomore Hunter Chandley tied for 27th with 73-76=149, while rookie Bennett Noe was 33rd with 71-79=150.

For Tusculum B, freshman Liam Sweeney tied for 27th place with 76-73=149, while rookie Matthew Kowalkski placed 45th with 77-76=153.  Freshman Carter Simon finished 49th with 81-74=155, while Dylan Scalf carded 88-75=163 to place 57th.

Tusculum wins the Dibble Classic (formerly known as the TC Fall Classic) for a third consecutive year and a seventh time in the 12-year history of the tournament.

The Pioneers return to action Oct. 9-10 as they compete at the Lenoir-Rhyne Division II Regional Preview.  Tusculum will get a chance to play on the layout at Rock Barn Golf Club and Spa, which will host the NCAA Super Regional in May.