Past National Champion wins TN Pro Mini Golf Open
The US Pro Mini Golf Association’s TN Pro Mini Golf Open was held Saturday, August 28, at Mossy Creek Mini Golf in Jefferson City, TN. Joey Graybeal (Bristol, TN) won the six-round event after acing the first four out five holes in the final round of competition. Graybeal had 15 aces on the day only behind runner-up Kenny Jarnigan (New Market, TN) who aced 18 holes for the entire tournament.
Jarnigan’s opening round 34 (-2) had him tied for 1st place with Gary Hester (Calabash, NC). Another round of 34 (-2) in the second round left the local, Kenny Jarnigan, in sole possession of the lead at (-4). Graybeal opened his tournament with rounds of 37 (+1), 37 (+1), and 34 (-2) leaving him at EVEN for the morning session. A five bogey, including one double, round for Jarnigan also left him at EVEN par after three rounds.
With temperatures in the low 90s, scoring went up in the afternoon session. Graybeal and Jarnigan pulled away from the 23-player field both shooting 35 (-1). The only under par scores for round 4. Graybeal shot his third under par round of the day in round five with another 35 (-1). Jarnigan had three aces and three bogeys in round 5 for an even par score of 36.
Graybeal extended his one stroke lead going into the 6th and final round with aces on holes 1, 2, 3 and 5. Bogeys on holes 7 and 16 brought Graybeal back for a score of 34. Graybeal final scores were 37, 37, 34, 35, 35, 34 (212, -4). Jarnigan finished runner-up with a final round 36 to shoot (215, -1) three shots behind Graybeal. Gary Hester shot his final three rounds at even par to finish in third place at (+4).
Joey Graybeal has won both USPMGA national championships. He was the winner of the 2016 USPMGA US Open in Pennsylvania and the USPMGA Masters in South Carolina. The TN Open is his first title of the 2021 USPMGA Season. The next major USPMGA event will be the USPMGA Masters held in North Myrtle Beach, SC October 7-9.
This was Kenny Jarnigans second career pro tournament and top finish. For the win, Joey Graybeal took home $600 of the $2000 purse. The tournament paid out to the top 11 players. Defending TN Pro Mini Golf Champion Fred Stewart (Richmond, VA) finished 5th at (+9).
Mossy Creek Mini Golf will host the 2022 USPMGA US Open on May 20-21, 2022. The tournament will be 10 rounds have a $15,000 purse.
Robinson picks up first USPMGA title in the Smoky Mountain Match Play
The top 16 players from the TN Pro Mini Golf Open were invited back on Sunday, August 29, for the Smoky Mountain Match Play. After two rounds, the final four players remaining were #3 Gary Hester, #4 Travis Robinson (Bristol, TN) , #7 Rick Baird (Landis, NC) and #8 John Kropanik (Gladstone, MO)
The first semifinal match between Hester and Baird required four sudden death playoff holes to decide the winner. A par on the difficult hole 4 propelled Hester to the final match. In the second semifinal, Robinson defeated John Kropanik 3 & 1. Robinson road to the finals was not easy. Robinson was two holes down going into the last two holes against the 2020 TN Pro Mini Golf Champion Fred Stewart. Robinson aced holes 17 and 18 to force a playoff where he defeated Stewart.
For Hester, this was back-to-back years making the finals of the Smoky Mountain Match Play. The match started with both Hester and Robinson acing hole 1. Robinson followed his ace on hole 1 with another ace on hole 2. The ace gave Robinson a 1UP lead on the match. A bogey on hole 3 by Robinson brought the match back to all square. On hole 4, Hester made an ace to win his second hole in a row to take the lead in the match 1UP. Par on the difficult hole 6 was good enough for the win for Robinson.
The players remained all square through hole 11. On hole 12, Robinson bogeyed to give Hester a 1UP advantage. Both Robinson and Hester had pars on holes 13, 14 and 15. Hester aced hole 16 to expand his lead to 2UP. Hester’s par putt on hole 17 lipped out. Robinson was able to get his par. Leaving him 1 DOWN going into the final hole. Robinson parred 18. Hester’s tee shot on 18 went long leaving a difficult deuce putt. Hester’s putt missed the target forcing playoff holes. After pars on hole 1, Robinson aced hole 2. Hester was unable to follow-up with an ace of his own given Travis Robinson the 2021 Smokey Mountain Match Play Final.
This is Robinson’s first USPGMA Victory. The prize for 1st place was $500 of the $1000 purse. Hester took home $250 as the runner-up. Rick Baird was victorious in the third-place match and won $150. John Kropanik who $50 for making it to the final four.
Craft goes back-to-back in amateur division
Clayton Craft (Roanoke, VA) was able to defend his 2020 TN Open Amateur Division Title. Craft shot 38, 37, 38 (+5) to give him a two-shot win over Russel Sigmon (NC). Craft lead all amateurs with 9 aces over three rounds.