Winners Interview with Chris Eassy
The Leon Gravley Memorial Trophy is a little heavier now than it was back in 2004. Twelve names have been added to the large trophy since the last time Chris Eassy lifted it as the Greenville County Amateur champion.
Eassy was a co-leader after the first round. He was a shot off the lead after the second round and was a two stroke winner after all the scores were posted.
It had been 12 years since the Holly Tree golfer was the County champion. He was a dozen years younger with a much different approach to the game.
“I was so young,” said Eassy. “I didn’t know how to handle it. This time I really enjoyed the last nine holes,” said the 2017 champion.
Eassy started the final round a shot off the lead set by Robert Lutomski and Todd Hendley. Eassy was tied with Jeremy Revis, the 2002 County Champion. Eassy, Lutomski, Revis and Hendley all played in the final group of the day.
Eassy was able to retake the lead after shooting a 2-under par 34 on the front nine.
While the final round leader was making putts, Hendley and Lutomski were not. The two struggled on the greens for much of the final round.
“Putting was the reason I was able to shoot a 68 in the first round and putting was the reason I couldn’t get anything going in the final round,” said Lutomski.
Hendley stayed within a shot of the lead until the 15th hole. A two-foot putt got away from the 2013 Greenville County champion.
“I’ve missed short putts before,” said Hendley. “I may have missed them, but I never shanked one like I did on number 15 today,” he joked.
The fourth member of the lead group played an uneventful first eight holes, but starting on the ninth hole Revis showed the form that helped him win a past county championship.
After making the turn at 1-under par, Revis made three more birdies in a row and looked like the only golfer with a chance to catch Eassy. However, on the 13th hole Revis carded a bogey and lost the momentum.
“I got a bad kick on number 13 or it could have been a little different,” said Revis. “I had some chances on the final holes, but I was only able to make one more birdie,” he said.
“The way he was playing we thought he was going to keep going,” said Eassy. “I thought we might have four people within one shot of the lead,” he said.
Revis made his final birdie on number 15, but Eassy matched his birdie and both golfers played out the final four holes without any change in the standings.
Lutomski birdied the 16th hole to stay in contention, but he suffered a pair of bogeys on the final two holes to miss his chance to catch the leader at the finish.
“I was hitting good shots to within 12 to 15 feet. On Friday I was making everything when I shot 68, but today (Sunday) something was a little off. I wasn’t able to make anything,” said Lutomski.
Essay went to the final hole with a one shot lead and made it stand up for his second Greenville championship.
“I have been playing pretty good for the last year,” said the 2016 SCGA Mid-Am champion. “It is mainly because of putting and I’ve improved a little with the wedge,” said Eassy.
Left hand low and hitting wedge shots better were keys to his victory, but just as important was his game plan.
“I have a simple mentality now. I go out to these tournaments and stand on the tee and try to make birdies. I used to over think the tournaments and the golf course. Now I try to keep it stupid simple and just have fun,” said the two-time Greenville champion.
Revis finished two shots behind Eassy in second place with Lutomski in third place and Hendley finished fourth.
Flight winners included First Flight – Daniel Batson, Second Flight – Jeremy Maharaj, Third Flight – Brad Schmidt.
This year’s championship was the 50th Greenville Amateur. The tournament was co-founded by the late Leon Gravley, who ran the event for 25 years until his passing in 1991.
Since then his sons, first Mike and then Robbie, have run the championship.
The Greenville County Golf Hall of Fame inducted Mike Gravley as part of the golden anniversary celebration. The 10-time winner of the Greater Greer Open also has the most championships in the County Amateur with four wins.
Each year the club with the top four scores is awarded the Allison Cup by the Greenville County Golf Association. Once again this year Holly Tree won the competition.
Champion Chris Eassy, Robert Lutomski, Yancey Johnson and Scott Friday combined to have the best four scores as a team.