Smith wins Kerr Lake Invitational; Crossroads’ Matthews impresses

May. 20, 2013 @ 09:39 PM

A fortunate roll on the 13th hole gave Raleigh’s Jason Smith all the momentum he needed Sunday on his way to a second Kerr Lake Country Club Invitational title.

Smith entered the final round with a one-shot lead on Daniel Faulkner and Troy Haynes and followed Saturday’s 69 with a 74 on day 2.

“I just got lucky on 13 and holed it out of the sand when it looked like I was going to struggle to even make bogey,” said Smith.

Smith made birdie on 16 and stayed in front to the end, two-putting on 18 to finish one-under par, two shots ahead of Faulkner, who edged D.J. Matthews in a playoff for second.

Smith has won the Kerr Lake Invitational both times he’s entered it. The former Appalachian State golfer also took the 2009 tournament.

Smith said some of his close friends grew up in the area.

“Just all my friends and people up here are just great,” he said. “I love everything to do with the tournament. It’s just fun.”

Storms disrupted play Saturday, but rain didn’t hinder the tourney’s final day.

“Today was beautiful,” said pro shop manager Michael Reese. “And good playing conditions except a little wet. The greens were rolling great. It was a really good event. Tommy Overcash is the tournament director. He did a great job.”

“The greens were perfect, rolling beautiful,” added Smith. “Twenty-five feet and in, you were pretty much thinking about how you could make it or how you had a chance at making it.”

Smith felt like Faulkner and Matthews hit it better than he did Sunday. Faulkner came out on fire before the Henderson Invitational champion found trouble on the 11th hole.

“Had he not hit that shot I think he probably would have been OK,” said Smith. “I know he’s good and obviously he knows how to hit a golf ball and knows how to play golf.”

Troy Haynes had a two-day total of 147 to finish in fourth, two shots behind Faulkner and Matthews. Greg Duffy and Tommy Overcash tied to round out the top five.

Kerr Lake Country Club member Dan Kearson topped the senior competition, shooting four over. He was followed by Jerry Tucker and Ray Miller.

Matthews makes most of first Kerr Lake tourney

Only hours removed from his high school graduation ceremonies, D.J. Matthews found his name near the top of the leaderboard Saturday evening after competing in his first Kerr Lake Invitational.

Matthews fired a 73 to put him in fourth place before an even-par performance Sunday. He ultimately fell in a second-place playoff to one of the area’s top golfers, Daniel Faulkner.

“He was making a bunch of birdies,” said tourney winner Jason Smith. “He was getting it up and down a lot. He showed a lot of character out there.”

Matthews attended his Crossroads Christian graduation Saturday morning before teeing off in the Invitational at 1:40 p.m.

“It was a hassle,” said Matthews. “Graduating that morning, it was bittersweet and then coming straight over here and playing golf. But I came out here and played good.”

Matthews, who turns 18 in August, has been playing the Kerr Lake course since he was about 12. He said he wasn’t intimidated going up against older players.

“I don’t mind playing with competition,” he said. “It’s a good thing knowing that you’re at the bottom and you want to show yourself to other people — that you can play.”

Matthews recently finished sixth in the state for Crossroads at the N.C. Independent School Athletic Association 1-A tournament.

Matthews will attend Campbell University in the fall, but hasn’t decided whether he will attempt to walk on the golf team. He’ll be pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a major in PGA golf management. The program includes summer internships that might keep him busy.

“Looks like he’s got a pretty good future with his golf and everything,” said Smith. “I hope when he goes off to Campbell it works out for him and he can play some on the collegiate level. He’s definitely got the game.”

CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT
1. Jason Smith 69-74—143
2. Daniel Faulkner 70-75—145 *
3. D.J. Matthews 73-72—145
4. Troy Haynes 70-77—147
T5. Greg Duffy 76-77—153
T5. Tommy Overcash 78-75—153
*Won playoff

SENIOR FIRST FLIGHT
1. Dan Kearson 72-76—148
2. Jerry Tucker 73-77—150
3. Ray Miller 78-74—152

FLIGHT WINNERS
First Flight: Nick Overcash 79-77—156
Second Flight: Nick Williams 85-79—164
Third Flight: Mike Stainback 89-80—169
Fourth Flight: Jeremy Tucker 91-84—175
Senior Second Flight: James Hamlett 87-80—167

Contact the writer at kholtzman@hendersondispatch.com.