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Brian Balthrop wins second Commanding General’s title; Brad Van Kirk three-peats in Senior’s Division

Commanding General's Golf TournamentClarksville, TN – Being the only player to post two under-par rounds, June 14th and 15th at Cole Park Golf Course, Brian Balthrop recorded his second Commanding General’s Golf Tournament win in the past three years with a one-shot victory.

Balthrop finished with a two-round total of 139 (71-68), edging Wendy’s Invitational champion Tyler Phillips (72-68—140) by a shot, while first round leader Josh Black took third place (68-74—142), three shots back.

“I just tried to go bogey free,” Balthrop said. “Bogies early in the second round really hamper the momentum you have going in.

Brian Balthrop wins Commanding Generals Golf Tournament. (Josh Vaughn Clarksville Sports Network)
Brian Balthrop wins Commanding Generals Golf Tournament. (Josh Vaughn Clarksville Sports Network)

“I got off to a quick start (starting on the back nine holes) with a birdie on 12 and 14 – having advantage of both par fives – and was able to turn at two-under.”

This weekend’s finish was a much better result for Balthrop, who opened the Clarksville Golf Association season at the Wendy’s with a fourth-place finish.

“I was kind of struggling at the Wendy’s scoring,” he said. “I came into this weekend concentrating on the par fives to see if I could get under par early.

“Yesterday I played well; I just didn’t make as many putts, today I just tried to manage the par fives, hit a lot of fairways and greens and tried to keep myself out of trouble.”

Hunter Richardson (74-69—143/1-under) and Drew Miller (73-71—144/even) rounded out the players who finished under or at even par in the tournament.

In the Open Division First Flight, Lafran Marks and Weston Sartain posted identical rounds of 78-77—155 to tie for first place in the fight, while Michael Wilkins (83-77—160) and Tyler Britt (80-80—160) tied for third place.

The Open Division Second Flight was won by Johnathan Sewell (86-79—165), who edged Ryan Campbell (85-81—166) by a stroke.

Colby Krug (87-82—169) took third, while Scott Thigpen (86-86—172) and Barry Cunningham (85-87—172) tied for fourth place.

In the Senior Division, Brad Van Kirk rallied from five shots down, by posting the low round of the day – in either division — to win his third straight Commanding General’s, with a two-day total of nine-under 135 (69-66).

“This is my third straight (Commanding General’s) win and I’m speechless,” Van Kirk said.  “I thought I was out of it after the first day being five (shots) back, but I just went out today and played my heart out and it worked out.

“I felt coming out today I was going to have to shoot a 65 to have a chance. I made one bogey on my 16th hole and wound up shooting a 66 and it just happened to be good enough. The chips just kind of feel my way today.”

First-round leader Joe Hodge (64-73–137/7-under) settled for second place, while Jim Duttweiler (69-71–140/4-under) took third place.

Joey Long (72-70–142/2-under) and Marcus Sartain (69-74–143/1-under) rounded out the under-par scoring and finished in fourth and firth pace respectively.

In the Senior Division First Flight, Ted Crozier posted and even-par round to take first place in the grouping, finishing with a two-day total of 152 (80-72) to edge Bobby Bracey (78-75—153) and David Graham (78-75—153) by a single shot, as they tied for second place.

Bill Wilkinson (79-75—154) finished two shots back in fourth place, while Ted Purdom (78-78—156) took fifth.

Finally in the Senior Division Second Flight, Harold Gabhart (84-77—161) was the run-away winner of the flight, finishing eight strokes ahead of Rod Lowell (86-83—169) and Jack Smith (84-85—169), who tied for second place.

James Austin (90-80—170) and Roger Gray (90-80—170) tied for fourth place.

Chris Austin
Chris Austinhttp://www.clarksvillesportsnetwork.com
Chris Austin is a graduate of Clarksville High School and Austin Peay State University. Chris is a former Head Softball Coach for APSU, and assistant basketball coach for CHS. Chris has worked at the Leaf-Chronicle, and WJZM News/Talk/Sports radio. Has also worked at the Sports Information Department at APSU, and has covered championship events for the Ohio Valley Conference and NCAA. Chris is an avid sports fan and can be found at most Austin Peay State University sports events.

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