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Jeff Chandler wins Commanding General’s Golf Tournament in playoff with Drew Miller at Fort Campbell’s Cole Park Golf Course


Fort Campbell KY - 101st Airborne DivisionFort Campbell, KY – Jeff Chandler pared the first playoff hole, at Cole Park Golf Course on June 9th, to hold off Drew Miller to win the Open Division of the Commanding General’s Golf Tournament, while Brad VanKirk repeated as Senior Division champion.

Chandler, who led Miller by a shot after June 8th opening round, got out to a hot start in his final round – going four-under through the first five holes and led by as many as seven shots on the front nine.

Jeff Chandler tees off at the Commanding General’s Golf Tournament at Fort Campbell's Cole Park Golf Course. (Bill Larson - Clarksville Sports Network)

Jeff Chandler tees off at the Commanding General’s Golf Tournament at Fort Campbell’s Cole Park Golf Course. (Bill Larson – Clarksville Sports Network)

“I got out to a house of fire through the first five holes,” Chandler said. “I was just trying to keep the gas on it, but I missed a couple of short birdie putts on holes seven and eight.
“That could have broken it open, and then I had a mishap on number nine with a bad second shot and wound up making a double (bogey).”

That kind of opened the door for both Miller and Brian Balthrop, who finished a shot back and finished in third place.

“That hole let everybody back in,” Chandler said. “I played pretty solid after after that, including cardiac hill, where I hit it in close and got an eagle and got some separation.

“But they fired right back and made a couple of birdies on the next couple of holes, but I was still up three with four holes to play.”

That was when Chandler had two mishaps on shots that normally would be routine.

“I pulled out a driver on number 15 and hit it prefect,” Chandler said. “Then I hit the second shot fat and made a bogie.

“Then I turned around on the next hole and shanked a six-iron – something I haven’t done in twenty years and made another double bogie after a three-putt.”

Chandler’s seven-shot lead was now gone, with Miller taking the lead on the 17th hole, when Chandler left a putt short.

But he would rally on the final hole hitting a tremendous chip shot to set up a birdie and force a playoff.

With a storm front bearing down on the golf course, the two players went back to the ninth-hole tee box to start their playoff.

Both hit short tee shots, with the wind knocking both drives down, while also coming into play on their second shots – blowing both well to the right side of the fairway and bring trees into play on their entry shots to the green.

Miller’s shot into the green was just short, while Chandler’s attempt made the front of the putting surface.

Miller was able to chip fairly close to the pin, giving him a good chance at a par, but he missed his putt opening the door for Chandler to win the tournament.

Chandler, who’s first putt got to within three feet of the hole, was able to knock in his second putt for a par and wrap up the championship.

“I was really expecting Drew to hit his putt,” Chandler said. “I feel real fortunate to have a second chance, because I feel I gave the tournament away on 15 and 16.”

For Miller, his disappointment was tempered by a solid two-day effort after coming in having not played much prior to the event.

“I’m still pleased with how I played this weekend,” Miller said. “I didn’t expect much out of myself, so to get into a playoff and even have a chance to win I feel good about that.

“I just had a bad second shot on the playoff hole and then made a bad chip getting above the hole and not giving myself the best chance at making par – but I should have gotten up and down.”

In the other open divisions, John Hahn took the first flight by a shot over Christian Snook, while Carlos Rubert won the second flight by eight shots over Joey Samuels and Michael Wilkins.

In the Senior’s Division, VanKirk defended his CG’s championship by edging first-round leader Greg Guinn by a shot.
“I hate to say I didn’t have my ‘A’ game, but I didn’t have my A-plus game,” VanKirk said. “It was A-minus at best, but it was enough.

“It’s always nice to be playing with the people your trying to beat, because you get to see and know what you have to do. Today wasn’t my best, but it was good enough, it wasn’t special.”

Despite shooting six shots worst that he did in the tournament’s opening round, Guinn had a chance on the final hole to force a playoff, but missed a final putt that could have forced extra holes.

“Today was just a tough day,” Guinn said. “I didn’t play well in any facet of my game, but you have to take your hat off to Brad. He played good enough to get it done.

“I know there will be another day.”

Richard Ashbrook won the Senior Division first flight by a shot over Wayne Woodham, while Bill Wilkinson and Mark Taylor tied for top honors in the senior’s second flight.

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