The 15th Annual Greystone Invitational was contested June 23-27, 2015 on the Founders Course at Greystone Golf & Country Club. William Gordon from Davidson, NC an incoming Freshman on the Vanderbilt University Golf Team, dominated the field with a 13-under par score of 275 (64-70-71-70). William's nearest competitors were Runner-Ups Anthony Quayle (69-74-69-70) from the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia and Birmingham's own Robby Prater (70-70-71-71), a Junior on the University of Alabama's golf team who both finished at 6-under par 282.
This year's Mid-Am winner was 2008 GI Champion and 5-Time GI Mid-Am Champ, Woodie Eubanks. Woodie finished at 3-over par, 291, with scores of 73-74-72-72. The best Greystone Golf & CC Member finish went to Chris Jones, reigning Greystone Club Champion, who finished in a tie for 29th at 7-over par, 296, with scores of 70-74-73-79.
Only 8 players managed to finish under par on the beautiful, yet challenging, Founders Course. With putting surfaces stimping the entire week in the 13-14 range coupled with U.S. Open rough, GI 2015 provided an excellent opportunity to test out the newly redesigned green complexes under tournament competition. Many of our returning players commented on how well they liked the new changes to the Founders Course.
This year's field of 148 players was one of our strongest ever with golfers participating from over 12 countries and 22 states! Our International contingence featured golfers from Australia, Canada, Colombia, Jamaica, Iceland, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, South Korea and the United States.
Our 2014 Champion was John Michael O'Toole - University of Cincinnati Bearcat and Birmingham area native - who finished at 10-under par 275 with scores of 69-70-71-65. John Michael orchestrated one of the greatest final rounds in Greystone Invitational history as he bolted out of the blocks on Sunday with birdies on the first, second and fourth holes and finished the front nine with a 32 after a birdie on nine. He added birdies on thirteen, fourteen and sixteen to shoot a 3-under 33 on the back nine claiming the trophy with a bogey-free round of 7-under, 65. O'Toole's 275 was six shot clear of Runner-Up Drew Czuchry.
GI 2014 also served as a major stop on the road to Gunn Yang’s victory in the 2014 U.S. Amateur. San Diego State’s Yang competed in GI 2014 in preparation for several amateur events including the U.S. Amateur held later in the summer at the Atlanta Athletic Club.
While Yang opened with an impressive 4-under par 68, he never regained his form - even after making the cut - to finish in a tie for 44th at 10-over par with rounds of 68-78-76-76. Yang’s 298 would be 23 strokes behind John Michael O’Toole. Just one more indication of the world-class field that the Greystone Invitational continues to draw!
17-year old Tyler Hitchner made the most of an unexpected big break to win the 2013 Greystone Invitational after University of South Carolina junior Caleb Sturgeon handed him the key to the victory on the 18th green of the first playoff hole after 3-putting from about three feet. Hitchner and Sturgeon were the only two players in the field to finish in the red at 2-under par. The Founders Course at Greystone Country Club, built by Bob Cupp in 1990 provided a stern test to the field which was filled with rising juniors, collegians and mid-ams.
Scott Strohmeyer and John Tyner finished in a tie third at a 72-hole total of one-over par. Strohmeyer, of course, was on the NCAA Championship-winning Alabama Crimson Tide team. Tyner plays at Memphis.
In a tie for fifth place at 2-over was Auburn's Ryan Benton, West Georgia's Cory Evans and Tom Lovelady, a teammate of Strohmeyer's at Alabama.
Michael Johnson completed an impressive weekend at Greystone by claiming the 12th Annual Greystone Invitational with a 14-under par 274. It was all Michael Johnson, all the time. With one hand on the trophy after Saturday's round, he grabbed it with both hands early on Sunday and never let go.
Going into the Championship Round with a four-shot lead over Joel Thelen (-5), a five-shot lead over Justin Cho (-4) and a six-shot lead over Trey Mullinax (-3), it was Michael Johnson's tournament to win or lose. It ended up being Michael Johnson's tournament the whole time once he made the final putt of the 2012 Greystone Invitational. Thelen and Mullinax would finish in a tie for runners-up at 6-under par 282.
Finishing in fourth place was Alabama's Robby Shelton (283) and in fifth place was Drew Czuchry (284) of Auburn, GA. Finishing in a three-way tie for sixth at 3-under par (285) were Tom Lovelady and Smylie Kaufman, both of Birmingham, AL and Justin Cho of Alpharetta, GA.
Rounding out the top ten was Jay Mulieri (286) of Silver Springs, MD in ninth place and in tenth place was Zach Estep (288) of Lawrenceville, GA.
Auburn University signee Michael Johnson, a recent Spain Park High School graduate, led Shelby County golfers in the Invitational with his tournament total of 1-over par 289. Johnson finished in a three-way tie for fourth place in individual standings. Coastal Carolina University rising sophomore Conner Pratt, a Spain Park graduate, finished in a four-way tie for eighth with his 3-over par 291.
Samford University rising junior Gabe Hyde, a Spain Park graduate, finished in a two-way tie for 12th overall in individual standings with his 4-over par 292. Hyde finished tied with Woodie Eubanks, the 2008 Greystone Invitational champion. Spain Park High School rising senior Robby Prater, the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 6A individual champion in 2009, finished in a three-way tie for 20th overall with his 7-over par 295. University of North Alabama rising senior Jake Greer finished in a two-way tie for 23rd in individual standings with his 8-over par 296.
Glenn Northcutt fired rounds of 65-73-71-69 to finish 10-under par 278 for a one shot victory over Case Cochran.
Michael Thompson lapped the field in the 7th Annual Greystone Invitational held on the Legacy Course. Thompson's career is so far the most decorated GI champion finishing as Runner-up in the 2007 U.S. Amateur the same summer he won the Greystone Invitational on Greystone’s Legacy Course. Michael attended Tulane University for two seasons before Hurricane Katrina would force The Green Wave to disband their golf team. After transferring to the University of Alabama Thompson’s stellar play earned him the 2008 SEC Player of the Year.
As a finalist in the 2007 U.S. Amateur Thompson earned invitations to the 2008 Masters Tournament and the 2008 U.S. Open. While he missed the cut in the Masters he went on to finish as low amateur in the Open at Torrey Pines finishing in 28th place.
Thompson would once again finish as a Runner-Up in a USGA event but this time it was in the 2012 U.S. Open losing by only one shot to eventual winner Webb Simpson at The Olympic Club in San Francisco, CA.
Feeding off a successful 2012 season, Thompson had his best season on the PGA TOUR including a win at the 2013 Honda Classic. With his win, he would reach a career-high 45th in the Official World Golf Ranking and finish the season at 39th in FedEx Cup points. As of February in 2015, Thompson has already earned over $5.1 million in his pro career.
Many other GI contestants have moved on to domestic and international pro tours around the globe.
GI 2014 served as a major stop on the road to Gunn Yang’s victory in the 2014 U.S. Amateur. San Diego State’s Yang competee in GI 2014 in preparation for several amateur events including the U.S. Amateur held later in the summer at the Atlanta Athletic Club.
While Yang opened with an impressive 4-under par 68, he never regained his form - even after making the cut - to finish in a tie for 44th at 10-over par with rounds of 68-78-76-76. Yang’s 298 would be 23 strokes behind eventual 2014 Champion, University of Cincinnati’s and Birmingham area native, John Michael O’Toole’s 10-under par 275 (69-70-71-65).
Another recent GI participant, Will Wilcox, is now playing on the PGA TOUR and competed for the lead in the 2014 Sony Open and won on the Web.com tour in 2013 . Will has threatened several times to win his first PGA TOUR event and in 2014, he had 2 Top-10 Finishes and 5 Top-25 Finishes ending with $586,159 in official money. So far in 2015, Will already has 2 Top-25 Finishes and has won $176,100 through Feb 24th.
Two other past contestants - James Bowen from Auburn and Carl Santos-Ocampo from Notre Dame - have multiple wins on the Asian Tour and Asian Development Tours.
When you look at the list of past winners and participants in the young, 14-year history of the Greystone Invitational, the confidence and experience gained as a competitor or as an eventual Champion can only continue to positively shape a golfer’s career.