Bryce Kendrick, a senior captain on the Tennessee Tech men’s golf team, has been feeling pretty good about his golf game this summer.
A 10-shot win with his father in the 18th National Father & Son Team Classic presented by PGA Tour Superstore won’t do anything to quell his good vibes.
“I’ve been playing some pretty good golf as of late, so I came in confident,” Bryce said. “This isn’t going to change that. With the [Tennessee] state am in two weeks, I’m very confident going into that.”
Bryan and Bryce Kendrick of Knoxville, Tenn., shot a 25-under-par 190 gross score in the nearly 700-player event to earn their second title in the past three years.
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The Kendricks shot a spectacular 12-under 60 Thursday in a best ball format at Prestwick Country Club, 1-under 71 Friday in alternate shot play at Legends Resort’s Moorland Course, and 12-under 59 Saturday in a captain’s choice scramble format at Thistle Golf Club.
“It’s fun when you look up and shots are going at the flag, and you’re making 8- and 10-footers routinely,” Bryce said.
In the best-ball 60 at Prestwick, Bryce shot a 7-under 65 on his own ball despite a shot out of bounds that led to a double bogey, and both players made eagles as they took an eight-shot lead after the first round. Bryce, 21, was 6 under through 10 holes.
“Prestwick played really hard,” said Bryan, a 59-year-old accountant. “When we came in people were saying, ‘That’s not a gross score, that’s a net score.’ They said, ‘No, they actually shot 60.’ We sort of buried them that first day.”
The Kendricks have competed in the Father-Son four times, including the past three years. Their score was 21 under both in 2013 when they won by a stroke over two-time champions Gary Carpenter Sr. and Jr., and last year when they finished two strokes behind champions Phillip and Josh Radcliff of Coppell, Texas.
“The courses were harder this year,” Bryan said. “Prestwick and Thistle were challenging, and they had Thistle [tees] back today, which was interesting. I think the golf courses were harder [in the championship flight] this year than any other year we’ve played.”
Bryan says he still drives the ball up to 280 yards, but his son is consistently 30 to 40 yards longer off the tee, so it was a challenge in the alternate shot and scramble formats to select Bryan’s six required drives. “We’re always trying to figure out where we’re going to play mine,” Bryan said.
Based on their win, the Kendricks have an opportunity to play in the European Father & Son Golf Championship from Oct. 26-31 in Cadiz Andalusia, Spain. They finished 11th two years ago in the event, which had dozens of teams representing 18 countries.
Kyle said his coach at Tennessee Tech, Polk Brown, has already given his blessing to skip his team’s coinciding college tournament that week to compete with his father and take advantage of tournament-paid expenses including entry fees, lodging and meals. But his teammates had already begun lobbying for him to play with the team.
“It’s sort of tough for me being a senior captain of the team,” Bryce said. “Another senior has already hounded me a lot, saying, ‘You’re really going to leave us for that?’ But it’s hard not to. It’s not an every-day kind of thing. … You don’t know how many times you’re going to get this chance, so in all likelihood we’ll be in Spain again in October.”
Bryce, whose brother, Brett, is a redshirt sophomore offensive tackle at the University of Tennessee, entered the Father-Son off a couple strong finishes. He was the fifth-lowest amateur and 13th overall in the Tennessee Open, and finished third in the Willow Creek Invitational amateur event in Knoxville.
Bryce’s swing coach is Brad Rose of Willow Creek Golf Club in Knoxville, who also instructs PGA Tour members Eric Axley and Tennessee Tech graduate Scott Stallings and a number of other pro and college players.
Bryce, whose school plays Division I golf in the Ohio Valley Conference, has three collegiate top-10 finishes and is still seeking his first win. He’s remaining on the Grand Strand a couple days to play True Blue Golf Club, which he’ll be playing with Tennessee Tech in September in the co-ed Golfweek Program Challenge.
The Kendricks aren’t sure if they’ll return next summer to defend a title for a second time. Bryce may turn pro at the conclusion of the college season and he may have a conflicting pro tournament.
▪ National Champions: Bryan & Bryce Kendrick
▪ Net Champions: Brett & Nathan King
▪ Senior Champions: Marty & Dustin James
▪ Senior Net Champions: John & Bryan Smith
▪ Super Senior Champions: James & Kristian Niemi
▪ Super Senior Net Champions: Roy & Tad Roediger
▪ Gross: Bryan & Bryce Kendrick
▪ Net: Brett & Sean Williams
▪ Gross: Foy & BT Warfford
▪ Net: Jerry & Christopher Weidner
▪ Gross: David & Noah Butler
▪ Net: Michael Lavery & Matthew Wanat
Gross: Brett & Nathan King
Net: John & Bryan Smith
▪ Gross: Terry & Terry Eggleston
▪ Net: Marty & Dustin James
▪ Gross: Roy & Tad Roediger
▪ Net: Bob & Robert Fitzgerald
▪ Gross: JJ & Jeff Costello
▪ Net: David & David Weeks
▪ Gross: Benny & Brent Sizemore
▪ Net: Bryan & Jeff Jacobs
▪ Gross: Tommy & Thomas High
▪ Net: Jim Collopy & Pete Peaco
▪ Gross: Dennis & Casey Hill
▪ Net: Peter & Clayton Hummel
▪ Gross: Mike McClurg & Dickie Henderson
▪ Net: Frank & Brian Wood
▪ Gross: Tony Liberoni & Matt Bezanis
▪ Net: Joe & Scott Wynne
▪ Gross: Craig & Jordan Pannett
▪ Net: Fred & Steve Comings
▪ Gross winner: James & Kristin Niemi
▪ Net: Terry & Peter Prahl
▪ Gross: John & James Grab
▪ Net: John & Jay Passmore
▪ Gross: Robert & Jimmy Johnson
▪ Net: Terry & Ashlee Scarlette