UPDATED: French win third straight GCO title

Sunday, July 16, 2017
Clayton French chips in on the 18th hole for his third straight Greene County Open championship.
By Terry Schwinghammer

Superstition leads us to believe the number three has magical properties, as in “Good things come in threes.” And the third time was certainly a charm for Clayton French in the Sunday twilight.

The two-time defending Greene County Open champion chipped in for birdie on the 18th hole to claim his third straight Open golf championship Sunday at Phil Harris Golf Course.

The recent Marian University graduate finished with a two-day total of 6-under par 136.

And French needed his closing birdie. Phil Harris course superintendent Brett Dunkerly birdied 18 to pull into a temporary tie with French at 5-under.

“It was huge, especially after I flubbed the first chip,” French said.

“A couple short putts I missed on the previous two holes put me in that position. But it felt awesome to come through with it.”

Both golfers fired closing-round 68s. French posted an opening 68 to lead Dunkerly by one shot headed into Sunday’s final round.

“Brett and I had joked about maybe battling it out on Sunday,” French said.

In fact, Phil Harris professional Bart Beard said a few days prior to the tournament Dunkerly had been playing as well as anyone.

“And he definitely played well today to come back and tie me on 18,” said French of his nearest competitor. “He’ll win this tournament one of these days for sure.”

Brett Dunkerly watches his eagle attempt track toward the hole on the 18th green in Sunday’s final round of the Greene County Open.
By Terry Schwinghammer

The former Marian standout withstood a three-putt double bogey at the Par-4 13th. French responded with back-to-back birdies on 14 and 15 to get his round back on track and position himself to complete his trifecta.

“I made some mistakes today,” the 2017 Open champion admitted. “But I followed it up with a couple of really huge birdies.

“I had a horrible lip-out on 13. To hit one in there to six feet on 14 and to 12 feet on 15 and make those putts was huge for my confidence.”

French becomes the first Greene County Open three-peat winner in over 50 years, since Bill Gayso in 1965.

“I wanted this one way worse than the first two for some reason. It hadn’t been done for a long time,” French said.

“I knew I could do it. I’ve been playing well.”

In the senior championship flight Dennis Johnson posted consecutive rounds of 69 for a two-stroke victory over Rich Montgomery and Mark Pirtle.

In the first flight, Koye Kaiser shot 74-77-151 to win by three shots over Chris Gilmore.

Caleb Dunkerly fired a closing-round 73, cruising to a five-stroke victory over Brad Beard in the second flight.

Other flight winners included Scott Poe in the third flight; Jarron Powers in the fourth flight; Doug Rose in the senior first flight; K.D. Hostetter in the senior second flight; and John Martin in the senior third flight.

Jacob Gregory lines up his tee shot Sunday in the Greene County Open. Gregory finished fourth in the championship flight.
By Austin Gordon

“It was a good tournament,” the Phil Harris pro said.

“All the flights were very competitive. There were a lot of one-shot winners and great finishes like we had in the championship flight.”

And he couldn’t have been more pleased with the turnout.

Last year’s field of 82 golfers was the largest Beard could remember. This year’s list of entries was even bigger as 86 players teed it up in the two-day event.

“I’ve got to say this has been one of the most satisfying for us because of the number of people we had,” the pro commented. “This is the most people I can ever remember. And they all played both days.”

Beard concluded by saying, “It was just a great weekend. The weather couldn’t have been any better. I’m just happy to be a part of it honestly.”

Senior champion Dennis Johnson (left) and 2017 Greene County Open champion Clayton French pose for a photo after Sunday's final round.
By Terry Schwinghammer


Championship Flight

Clayton French 68-68--136

Brett Dunkerly 69-68--137

Brian Brinegar 66-74--140

Jacob Gregory 68-73--141

Shane Miller 72-70--142

Brock Anderson 72-72--144

Ethan Sparks 69-75--144

Zach Hall 67-78--145

Luke Jerrells 73-72--145

Jordan Bradbury 73-75--148

Justin Suthard 72-79--151

Bart Beard 75-77--152

Cole Bradbury 72-80--152

Mark Guyer 72-80--152

Evan Wright 73-85--158

Chris Taylor 79-80--158

First Flight

Koye Kaiser 74-77--151

Chris Gilmore 78-76--154

A.J. Poe 78-78--156

Darren Clayton 78-78--156

Jason Gregory 78-79--157

Blane Boyd 75-86--161

Jackson Stone 74-87--161

Beth Wernz 77-84--161

Kriss Miller 77-85--162

Trey Miller 75-87--162

Carl Poe 77-85--162

Second Flight

Caleb Dunkerly 80-73--153

Bead Beard 80-78--158

Keith Swihart 79-81--160

Jeff Stuppy 80-82--162

Adam James 85-78--163

Jaekob Ham 83-83--166

Will Harper 81-86--167

Jay Smith 81-88--169

Brandon Hogue 83-87--170

Steve Campbell 80-91--171

Riley Holtsclaw 85-90--175

Third Flight

Scott Poe 86-80--166

John Scott 88-82--170

Rick Jerrells 92-80--172

Travis Kendall 86-88--174

Steve Weinzapfel 89-90--179

Shane Keller 91-109--195

Fourth Flight

Jarron Powers 95-89--184

Eli Poe 98-91--189

Luke Wilson 96-104--200

Brady Smith 93-113--206

Addison Wall 102-111--213

Zach Hall watches one of his approach shots Sunday. Hall finished in a tie for eighth in the championship flight along with Luke Jerrells.
By Austin Gordon

Senior Championship Flight

Dennis Johnson 69-69--138

Rich Montgomery 69-71--140

Mark Pirtle 69-71--140

Robin Harper 72-72--144

Steve Workman 71-75--146

Terry Schwinghammer 71-76--147

Paul Dunkerly 70-78--148

Mike Smith 73-75--148

Bob Johnson 73-75--148

Kirby McKee 71-78--149

Tim Taylor 74-77--151

Benji Boyd 74-83--157

Senior First Flight

Doug Rose 77-74--151

Rick Bowersock 75-77--152

Jim O’Dell 76-76--152

Rod Wilson 77-77--154

Don Laughlin 77-78--155

Jim Spainhower 75-81--156

Jack Johnson 75-83--158

John Spencer 79-79--158

Stoney Cox 79-84--163

Greg Norrington 78-88--166

Senior Second Flight

K.D. Hostetter 81-78--159

Mike Wilson 81-78--159

Phil Burger 81-81--162

Sandy Woodruff 81-81--162

Mike Johnson 80-84--164

Chuck Erdly 85-92--177

Senior Third Flight

John Martin 99-86--185

Gary Anderson 88-97--185

Jim Leonard 95-93--188

Chuck Baker 95-96--191

Dan Gabbard 95-97--192

Greg Bartlett 108-106--214

Luke Jerrells strikes his opening tee shot in Sunday’s Greene County Open tournament.
By Austin Gordon

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