By Mike Blum
Winning a golf tournament is never easy, but Tim Weinhart could have faced a more
difficult path to his victory in the recent Yamaha Georgia Match Play Championship.
The tournament wound up with a smaller field than usual, with Weinhart only having to
play four matches en route to his second Match Play title and 13th career individual title
in Georgia PGA points events.
Several of the Section’s top players were missing from the 29-man field, among them
former champions Craig Stevens, Sonny Skinner, Stephen Keppler, Shawn Koch and
Matt Peterson. Stevens and Skinner were competing in the PGA Senior PNC that week.
Weinhart, seeded third in the field, did not have to face either of the top two seeds, as No.
1 Bill Murchison and No. 2 Clark Spratlin were both upset in the second round after
each had a first round bye, as did Weinhart, an instructor with the Nuclear Golf program
at the Standard Club.
The tournament’s defending champion was in Weinhart’s quarter of the bracket, but he
was also knocked out in an upset-filled second round.
Weinhart won the tournament without ever playing the 18th hole at Chattahoochee GC in
Gainesville, which served as tournament host in place of the University of Georgia course
in Athens. The tournament was presented by Divots Sportswear.
In the title match, Weinhart defeated No. 4 seed Winston Trively, the head professional
at Crooked Oak in Colquitt, 3&2. Weinhart got past Rivermont CC head professional
Matthew Evans, the seventh seed, 2&1 in the semifinals, the only time he went as far as
Weinhart defeated Randy Brooks, head professional at Ansley GC’s Settindown Creek,
4&3 in the second round and ousted Chicopee Woods Director of Instruction Jeff
Frasier 3&2 in the quarterfinals.
Frasier, the 11th seed, was one of four players responsible for knocking out the Nos.
1, 2, 5 and 6 seeds in the second. He defeated No. 6 seed David Potts, the defending
champion from Country Club of the South, 3&2.
Eric Reeves of Macon’s Healy Point eliminated No. 1 seed Bill Murchison from Towne
Lake Hills 1-up. Second seeded Clark Spratlin of Georgia Golf Center, a three-time
tournament champion, lost 2&1 to Marietta Golf Center’s Ted Fort. Michael Parrott
of Brookfield CC, the fifth seed and 2009 runner-up, was edged 1-up by Will Hutter of
Governors Towne Club.
All four upset winners in the second round did not make it past the quarterfinals, losing
to higher seeded opponents. Fort lost 3&2 to Evans, Hutter was ousted 7&5 by Trively
and Reeves was defeated 4&3 by eighth seeded Greg Lee of Chicopee Woods, the 2007
That left four of the top eight seeds in the semifinals and produced two of the tighter
matches in the tournament. Trively needed 20 holes to get past Lee, while Evans gave
Weinhart his toughest match of the tournament before losing 2&1.
Evans led Weinhart midway through their semifinal match, but Weinhart won holes 12
and 13 and held on from there. In the title match against Trively, Weinhart was 3-up at
the turn and maintained his lead to win the Match Play title for the first time since 2005.
He has lost twice in the finals, most recently to Potts last year, and reached the semifinals
on two other occasions.
Weinhart says he won the tournament by making “a lot of pars and a bunch of birdies. I
played really solid vs. Frasier in the quarters. Against Matthew I was 3-under. I bogeyed
the first hole and made four birdies after that.”
Apart from one hole against Brooks in his opening match which he won with a bogey,
Weinhart says he played “pretty darn good,” doing his best work on Chattahoochee’s
“I rolled it beautifully,” he said, with perhaps his most important putt of the tournament
coming on the 10th hole of his semifinal match against Evans. One-down at the time,
Weinhart holed a 15-footer for par to halve the hole and pulled even when Evans made
his first bogey of the match at the 12th.
Weinhart took the lead with a birdie at the par-5 13th and said he escaped with a half
at the 15th when he made par after almost hitting his drive out of bounds while Evans
knocked it on in two but three-putted. A Weinhart par at the long par-3 17th won the hole
and the match.
The win was Weinhart’s first in a Section tournament this year, with three top-3 finishes
keeping him in contention for his seventh Georgia PGA Player of the Year honor and
third in a row.
Weinhart said the upsets of Spratlin and Murchison “had the biggest impact” on clearing
his path to the title.
“When those two got knocked out, it was my tournament to win,” he said.
With the victory, Weinhart closed the gap on points leader Murchison going to final
event of the season – the PGA PNC qualifier later this month.
A seventh title would pull Weinhart even with Gregg Wolff, which he would consider a
“That’s definitely a big goal. I can tie a legend.”