Hear from three-time Greenville County champion Chris Eassy about his win in the 2020 championship played at Holly Tree Country Club.
Eassy wins third Greenville County Amateur
It took Chris Eassy 14 years to win his second Greenville County championship, but only two more years to add a third.
The Holly Tree golfer broke out of a group of 12 past champions with two county titles, to join Dr. Bill Lovett as a three-time winner and now only trails 4-time champion Mike Gravley in the record books.
Eassy shot three straight rounds of 5-under par 67 for a 201 total to win the 2020 championship on his home course. He topped fellow Holly Tree member Russ Gillig by 5-shots.
The 54 hole tournament started for Eassy after his return from a family vacation at the beach.
“I got up Friday morning, drove home from Fripp and got on the course,” Eassy said. “It’s something I’ve done all my life,” he added.
Eassy didn’t tune up for the County championship while on vacation. He only used his clubs once while he was away.
A four hour drive home and then a four-hour rain delay during his first round made for a very long day.
It was made even longer when Eassy’s group was not able to finish play and had to return for a 7:30 start the next day.
“I got off to a good start. I have been playing well since I changed my grip. It took a couple of months to get used to it, but I’ve got it working now and have confidence in it,” he said.
Eassy finished the opening round by posting the first of his three 67s. He was tied with Cole Patterson, the defending champ and Louisville golfer JD Lehman.
After a short break Eassy was back on the course for his second round.
In the second round Eassy’s challengers changed, but his score didn’t.
He posted another 5-under par 67 and with it broke out of the tie at the top to take a 3-shot lead.
Patterson struggled to post a 4-over par 76 while Lehman carded a 1-over par 73.
Former Wofford golfer Cory Taylor improved by one shot on his first round 3-under par 69.
His two day total of 137 put him alone in second place 3-shots off the lead.
Early first round leader Jimmy McCollum shot a 2-under par 70 and tied with Gillig in fourth after 36 holes.
Clemson golfer Colby Patton and Connor Barker each posted rounds of 7-under par 65.
The two golfers ended up with the low rounds for the tournament and settled into a fourth place tie going into the final round.
Eassy, Gillig, Patton and Taylor would make up the final group in the last round.
Taylor and Patton could not make a run at the leader, but Gillig finished the front nine at 4-under to put some pressure on the leader.
“I was five back starting the day and I thought I’d have to shoot around a 64 to have a chance,” said Gillig. “I got close, but Chris played great,” he said.
The charge Gillig made on the front let Eassy know he was still in a battle.
“It got close, but not real close. It got close enough to get my attention. I know what kind of player Russ (Gillig) is and I knew I couldn’t let up,” said Eassy.
Eassy held a good lead going to the always challenging 17th at Holly Tree. He wasn’t comfortable with the margin and needed a strong finish on the last two holes.
On 17 the leader either got a great break or was unlucky.
A weekend hacker would call it great when your ball hits the cart path and gains distance, but an accomplished player like Eassy didn’t appreciate it.
“My ball bounced off the cart path and I ended up 85 yards from the green (on a 375 yard dog leg left hole). My lob wedge goes about 90 yards and with the adrenaline pumping I had to make sure I didn’t miss. If you airmail the green on 17 you are looking at a bogey,” he said.
Eassy took a little off a lob wedge and ended up 20 feet below the hole. He had just the right amount of pace to climb the rise on the green and drop his birdie putt in the cup.
With a 5 shot lead Eassy felt comfortable on the final hole. His approach missed the green, but a chip and a two-putt par earned him his third championship.
“I knew I could just limp in and not do anything crazy,” he joked.
Eassy’s first victory in the County championship came in 2004 his second was in 2017 and now his third this year. At age 44 he is very happy with his game.
“It’s has been that way for a few months. My swing and ball striking has been pretty good. With me it always comes down to putting. If I can get the putts to fall its usually pretty good,” said the three time champion.
Gillig closed down Eassy’s victory margin to four shots by matching his final round 5-under par 67 for a tournament total 206.
After having a share of the early first round lead McCollum finished with a 2-under par 70 to take solo possession of third place.
“I played pretty well,” he said. “I’d like to have a few putts back, that was the difference for me,” said the Presbyterian college golfer.
John Bearrie tied with 2013 Greenville County champion Todd Hendley for fourth place. Each golfer shot a 2-under par 70 in the final round.
Patton fell back to sixth after a final round 73, while Lehman shot even par 72 for seventh place,
2016 Greenville County champion Yancey Johnson finished in eighth place followed by HollyTree Club champion Lleyton Renner in ninth and Taylor rounding out the top-10.
Holly Tree golfers won the Allison Cup which is presented to the Greenville Club with the best total scores in the championship.
Winning the Allison Cup proved Eassy’s claim that the Simpsonville club may have a collection of the best golfers in the state.
“We have four or five of the top golfers that play here and the competition is great. I won’t have to give any of the guys I play with any shots here. We just tee it up and play,” said the 2020 champion.
The Greenville County Golf Association added a new member to its Hall of Fame.
Longtime participant and two-time champion Bobby Hines was honored with Hall of Fame recognition.
Hines won the 1996 and 1998 County Amateurs and has his name on club championship and area club tournament trophies all over the Upstate.
Just four years ago when Hines should have been playing in super-senior championships he was an early round leader in the county tournament.
2020 Greenville County Flight winners included: First Flight – Miller Harbin, Second Flight – Zander Briggs, Third Flight – Michael Kirkland, Fourth Flight – Matt Brewer.
Final scores are available at
Categories: Upstate Amateur Golf, Video Highlights & Interviews
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