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Friday, Oct. 24, 2014

Anderson's a bridesmaid no more

Posted Tuesday, July 17, 2012, at 11:57 AM

(Photo)
Brock Anderson prepares to tee off on No. 1 Sunday at the Greene County Open. Anderson finished the two-day, 36-hole tournament with an 9-under par 133 to earn his first victory. (By B.J. Hargis/Greene County Daily World).
As a writer and photographer trying to capture the essence of the moment when a team or individual succeeds in tournament play, I have had many chances to have a ringside seat during a few celebrations throughout the years.

But I don't believe I have ever seen anyone more happier or relieved than Brock Anderson.

After years of being considered the best golfer recently to grace the links at the Phil Harris Golf Course in Linton, Anderson won his first Greene County Open championship this past weekend. I believe that everyone in the clubhouse after 7 p.m. Sunday was thrilled to see Anderson with his name at the top of the leaderboard, yours truly included.

After shooting a blistering 9-under par 62 in the first round on Saturday, Anderson, a 1999 Linton-Stockton graduate who also golfed at Vincennes University, shot par 71 on Sunday to win the tournament with a 133.

"I am a bridesmaid no more," said Anderson. "It feels good to get this monkey off of my back.

"I was really, really solid yesterday (Saturday). Today was just the opposite of that. I just had to hang in there and fight and battle to get this win."

Anderson, who shot a 78 on the final round last year after being within two shots of the lead, said his performance was anything but pretty Sunday.

"If you had watched me play today, I don't think anyone would have thought I shot par," he said. "Everything was a struggle."

High school standout Clayton French, who went to the state finals this past spring as a junior at Linton-Stockton, was seven strokes back of Anderson after day one and finished four back, earning second place.

"Clayton French played really well both days and kept hanging around," said Anderson. "He played his butt off and just kept charging.

"Every time I thought I had a little breathing room, Clayton would made a great shot to get within three or four. He really kept the pressure on me. He had a great high school season and he has a great future. I was just fortunate to have a big lead and I was able to make enough shots today to hold him off. Brett Dunkerly also was right in the hunt."

Dunkerly's 138 would have been good enough to tie Randy Smith for the title last year, but was third best Sunday.

French was the only one in the championship flight to shoot a better score on Sunday than Saturday. Last year, Smith was the only one to do it en route to his 11th title.

"The course played really tough today," said first flight winner Benji Boyd. "But it always plays tougher on Sunday than Saturday."

High schooler Ben Boyd, who was ninth (149) in the championship flight after shooting an 80 on Sunday, said the greens were as slow as he has ever seen.

Smith said he had 31 putts and couldn't make any putts.

Smith had the burden of playing after his mother passed last Monday and was buried on Thursday.

"This has been a long week."

After Anderson birdied the 18th with the last stroke of the tournament, a smiling Smith approached Anderson to shake his hand.

"I told "Smitty" that I've only got 10 more to catch him," laughed Anderson, who said he has enough time to usually play once a week.

The 58-year old Smith has eclipsed the age for the Senior Flight (55), but club pro Bart Beard said Smith is still too competitive to take a step down.

Beard, who said that Anderson's 133 is as low of winning score as he can remember, compares Anderson to four-time winner Randy Miller.

"Randy was runner-up and right in the hunt for quite a few years before he won it," said Beard. "After that I think he won four of the next five tournaments.

"It could be a similar thing for Brock. Now that he has won, who knows how many times he can win it?"

Anderson's 62 Saturday has only been eclipsed by a 61 that Miller recorded in winning one of his tournaments (1987, 1888, 1990, 1991), according to Beard.

Bart added that he was hoping to get 90 golfers, but a few backed out when it was raining on Saturday.

"We still had 82 golfers, which is a really good turnout, as many as we had last year," he said. "I think it was a good tournament. I wished the rain would have held off Saturday, but that's the way it goes.

"I think the course was in good condition. It was good to see Brock finally win it because he has been the best golfer out here over the last 10 years or so."

Bart added that he could not have put on the tournament without the help of Brooke French, Bradlea Beard, Caleb Dunkerly and Ashlea Dunkerly.

Anderson was dressed in all black, including a Pittsburgh Steelers shirt, Under Armour hat and slacks as temperatures soared into the low 90s. Some golfers joked that he looked like Johnny Cash or made comments about how hot his outfit must have been.

"I don't know why," when Anderson was asked about his color choice. "The Steelers are my favorite team and I always where pants to golf in, you can ask all the guys."

Whatever the outfit, or whether he was playing a guitar and singing or not, Anderson looked like a pretty cool champion to me.

B.J. Hargis is the sports editor at the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached at (812) 847-4487, ext. 12.



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