Troy golfer wins Sherman Invitational

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 11, 2001

The News Herald

If not for a couple of distractions on the back nine holes, Terry Mobley would have totally obliterated the field in the final round of the Sherman Invitational Sunday.

As it was, he merely blew away the rest of the players, winning by five strokes on a near-perfect day for golf at the Panama Country Club in Lynn Haven. He shot an even par 72 on the day finishing with a 216.

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"The first two days of the tournament I hit wonderful shots but did not score," Mobley said. "Today, I didn’t hit it so well but made some big par saves by keeping the ball below the hole."

Mobley, from Troy, Ala., could have won by as much as eight strokes if not for a couple of missed shots after being distracted by spectators. On No. 13, noise just off the green caused him to three-putt and on the par-4, 16th hole, some loud spectators caused a near disaster.

"A jeep drove up and some people began to talk loudly just as I was ready to drive off the tee," he said. "I stepped away from my shot and then when I did hit it, I hit a snap hook into the woods."

Mobley tried to just bump the ball out from the woods into the fairway on his second shot. But it caught a tree branch and bounced back into the woods. He was successful on his third shot in getting the ball onto the fairway but then took three shots to hole out and suffered a double-bogey six.

But the misstep on No. 16 did not affect Mobley the rest of the way as he shot par on the final two holes for his five-shot margin.

Two of Mobley’s playing partners in the final foursome, Jim Kemp (75 – 221) and Richard Maddox (75 – 223), finished behind Mobley.

Kemp, who was second and is a full-time amateur player hoping to turn professional in the near future, said he too had trouble scoring Sunday.

"I missed some very makeable putts on the last 11 holes," he said. "I think it was all mental for me as I seemed to be trying way too hard."

Maddox, who tied for third with Steve Bersch, had the shot of the day on 18. He hit his second drive on the par-5 hole into a tree. As it was an unplayable lie, he could have taken a drop or shaken the ball from the tree. But instead he decided to play it.

"I took out my driver and hit it out of the tree," he said. "It was probably one of the best shots I hit all day."

Local Lynn Haven resident Jason Daffin started the day in contention for the title just two strokes off the pace. But he quickly fell out of contention with a couple of bogeys on the first three holes and ended up shooting 84 for a three-day total of 231.

Maddox said he drove the ball better all day but, like many of the other players, said he didn’t putt particularly well. He had an inkling early that Mobley was going to win the tournament.

"I kind of knew after Terry holed a couple of 20-footers on two or three holes that he was on his action today," he said. "But, at the same time, I never thought that I couldn’t win."

For Mobley, this is a big step forward for his game, which had been put on the back burner until recently.

"I haven’t won a tournament in a long, long time," he said. "I played golf in college at Troy State. But after college I got married and had kids so baseball has taken priority over golf. I started practicing again about four months ago and have been hitting the ball well for the past couple of months."

Mobley becomes the first new winner of the Sherman in the past six years. Defending five-time champion Mike Riley turned pro this year and was not eligible to play.

"I hate that Riley wasn’t here as he would have been the one to beat in the tourney," he said. "But there were a lot of good players in the field and I am very happy to win the tournament."

For his victory, Mobley was given a beautiful portrait of golf legend Bobby Jones and gift certificates for merchandise and play at Panama Country Club.