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Spring Fling coming this weekend

Ronnie Brown and Phil Whisenhunt will be back together for this year's Spring Fling.

Nobody is quite sure when the Spring Fling started at the McMinnville Country Club, but there is no forgetting the winners once they are crowned over Memorial Day weekend. The best of the best local golfers will be battling again this weekend, hoping they will be the team to remember and the ones to hold bragging rights throughout the summer.

A crowded field of 46 teams will be taking the course Saturday and Sunday as 36 holes will decide this year’s Spring Fling champions. Numbers grew this year as the event was moved back to Memorial Day after being postponed to Labor Day in 2020 due to COVID-19. Right now, there is a lot of talk about the field, which will be separated into flights after Saturday’s round to determine who can play for the championship.

Most teams have the goal of taking top honors in the Championship Flight, one that was won by Zack Molloy and Nick Stern last September. Traditionally, the tournament has been divided into four flights after Saturday’s round, meaning only the top 9-10 teams will be in play for the title by Sunday.

Last year’s event had one of the best finishes in recent memory, with Stern and Molloy defeating Pieter van Vuuren and Jamie Stinson on a second playoff hole. Stern hit a 40-footer on No. 18 to tie the event and force a playoff, one his team ultimately won.

Stern and Molloy will likely enter this weekend as potential favorites, though it won’t be together. The dream team decided to go in a different direction this year, with Stern now playing with Bracton Womack and Molloy picking up Matt Richey as a teammate.

Last year's winners Nick Stern and Zack Molloy will be opponents this weekend.

While nobody knows if the Stern or Molloy will be stronger apart, their names are still being thrown around quite a lot when people talk this year’s strongest teams. In taking a straw poll around the Country Club this week, the WCSA found that most are mentioning Stern and Womack – two of the younger golfers in the event – as the team to beat.

It won’t be easy though. This year’s tournament is thought to be one of the strongest fields in years, with many past champions set to tee it up at McMinnville Country Club. The 2019 champions, John Wilson and Matt Cotten, will be playing. Bill Locke and Tommy Sims are also a formidable pair, as are Greg Brock and Andrew Brock.

Some are circling Paul Martin and Casey Talbert as a wild card after they shot 65 on the first day in last year’s event, while Bill Rogers and Keith Bryson are pairing together in hopes of their first Spring Fling victory after playing the event for over 20 years.

Jamie Stinson and Pieter van Vuuren are always in the hunt at the Spring Fling.

As always, people have their eyes on the team of Stinson and van Vuuren on Sunday. The duo looked like they were going to cruise to a 2019 championship before there was an issue with a misidentified ball on the back nine that caused the team to incur a two-stroke penalty. That left the door open for Wilson and Cotten to take home the title.

Last year, Stinson and van Vuuren were a 10-foot putt away from clinching victory on No. 18. This year could be the time when Stinson and van Vuuren finally break through in the championship flight.

Play is scheduled to start at 8 a.m. Saturday. The tournament should conclude Sunday afternoon.

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Saturday tee times (as of Wednesday afternoon)

Steve Biles/Dwayne Brown - 7:50 a.m.

Whit Taylor/Buddy Stephens - 7:50 a.m.

Johnny Murray/David Sims - 8 a.m.

Andy Jacobs/Harry Flippen - 8 a.m.

Mo Hobbs/Richard Purcell - 8:10 a.m.

Freddie Davenport/Jamie Wolfe - 8:10 a.m.

Cole Taylor/Zach Minton - 8:20 a.m.

Wendall Dishman/Pat Greene - 8:20 a.m.

Scott Cantrell/Wayne Grissom - 8:30 a.m.

Webber Cantrell/Greg Smartt - 8:30 a.m.

Clint Moore/Chase Moore - 8:40 a.m.

Alan Johnson/Bobby Morton - 8:40 a.m.

Gary Griffin/Jim Griffin - 8:50 a.m.

John McNulty/Karl Huff - 8:50 a.m.

Chad Newby/Darrell Cook - 9 a.m.

Mickey Heath/Corker DeLoach - 9 a.m.

Matt Brown/Hank Patton - 9:10 a.m.

Kevin Mingle/Tony Thomas - 9:10 a.m.

Brett Simmons/Ryan Williams - 9:20 a.m.

Chris Cochran/Jason Jacobs - 9:20 a.m.

Bart Stanley/Eric Burch - 9:30 a.m.

Keith Rogers/Ted Cline - 9:30 a.m.

Barry Medley/Dave Alsbrook - 9:40 a.m.

Don Heath/Jonathan Heath - 9:40 a.m.

John Wilson/Matt Cotten - 9:50 a.m.

Paul Martin and Casey Talbert shot 65 on Day 1 last year.

Paul Martin/Casey Talbert - 9:50 a.m.

Ray Cantrell/Rodney Whiles - 10 a.m.

Mike Taylor/Will Stern - 10 a.m.

Alan West/Jason Denney - 10:10 a.m.

Butch Bullen/Roger Jacobs - 10:10 a.m.

Phil Whisenhunt/Ronnie Brown - 10:20 a.m.

Bobby Taylor/Allen Hitchcock - 10:20 a.m.

Craig Hamby/John Perdue - 10:30 a.m.

Tom Thaxton/Mikell Thaxton - 10:30 a.m.

Jimmy Mosier/Wayne Woolfall - 10:40 a.m.

Blake Alsbrook/Chase Alsbrook - 10:40 a.m.

Greg Brock/Andrew Brock - 11 a.m.

Dr. Brad Brock/Dr. Bill Noah - 11 a.m.

Zack Molloy/Matt Richey - 11:10 a.m.

Jamie Stinson/Pieter van Vuuren - 11:10 a.m.

Bill Locke/Tommy Sims - 11:20 a.m.

Cody Durham/Clayton Myers - 11:20 a.m.

Nick Stern/Bracton Womack - 11:30 a.m.

Bill Rogers/Keith Bryson - 11:30 a.m.

Tucker Lynn/Grant Walker - 11:40 a.m.

Liam Brock/Luis Tittle - 11:40 a.m.

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