Lane is trying to become the first golfer to win the William B. Greene Jr. East Tennessee Amateur three years in a row. Two players — Adam Shanks and Bill Argabrite — have won the championship three times, but neither of them did it in consecutive years.
“That would be really special,” said Lane, the golf coach at Knox Bearden High School. “There’s been so many good champions of the tournament, even guys who never won it. To have a chance to win it three times in a row is pretty cool. That’s my big motivation.”
The tournament runs Friday through Sunday at Elizabethton Golf Course.
Lane has no extenuating circumstances this year. Two years ago, he won after his wife had just given birth to their second child and she said he could play in one tournament. He picked this one and won it in his 11th try.
Last year, he arrived for his tee time after a 3 a.m. wakeup call and a long drive from the beach. The result? Another win.
What will he do for an encore? Lane says his game is in pretty good shape heading into the tournament because school has been out and he’s had a lot of time to play.
“I feel like I’m ready,” he said. “I feel like when I get to that tournament, the switch kind of flips and the competitive juices get flowing.
“I love that tournament. Even if I didn’t feel ready, I’d still be real excited to get up there and compete.”
Lane has plans to play in three tournaments this year, including the Knox County Amateur a couple of weeks ago and the Tennessee State Four-Ball next month.
“As good as those tournaments are, they’re not the ETA,” he said. “I’ve always told everybody the ETA is kind of like the Masters for me and my brothers.”
Lane’s brothers — Cameron and Science Hill tennis coach Kelly — will be in the field. Their father Lynn will be playing in the match play portion.
“That’s part of the fun for me, spreading the word how much fun this tournament is,” said the defending champ, who estimates his group of family and friends in the field will be about 14 strong. “I just want to get up there and enjoy the week, see old friends and make new friends. It really is the best tournament of the year. They do such a great job. It’s a tournament we look forward to months in advance.”
Lane shot rounds of 67, 65 and 69 last year to win by five strokes over Nick Cohen. Lane’s 15-under-par total was one stroke off the tournament record of 16 under par, set in 2014 by Cayman Ratliff.
Lane is 28 under par over the past two years, an average score of 67.3 on the par-72 layout.
Other former champions in the field are Ratliff, Blake Howard, Bryan Sangid, Lucas Armstrong, Nick York and Ben Treadway.
Ryan Terry, a former Lipscomb University golfer who won the Tillinghast Invitational at Johnson City Country Club, is also in the field. He is trying to become the first golfer to win the Tillinghast and the ETA.
Mike Wood, who won the senior championship here the last two years, will be back to defend his title. The golfer from Franklin, North Carolina, shot rounds of 69, 71 and 68 last year to win by eight strokes.
The tournament is a points event for the Tennessee Golf Association’s player of the year award and the second stop on the Tri-Cities Amateur Tour. It’s sponsored by Carter County Bank.
East Tennessee Amateur
First-round tee times
At Elizabethton Golf Course
Match Play Flights
7:00 a.m. — Andrew Julian vs. Dylan Wyatt, Callaway
7:08 a.m. — Chad Napier vs. Chase Buck, Bridgestone
7:16 a.m. — Stephen Wilson vs. Tommy Tipton, Titleist
7:24 a.m. — Tyler Church vs. Billy Harren, Titleist
7:32 a.m. — Richard Parker vs. Noah Smith, Titleist
7:40 a.m. — Josh Taylor vs. Luke Bateman, Titleist
7:48 a.m. — Eric Hall vs. Michael Hawk, Callaway
7:56 a.m. — Stephen Swecker vs. Tyler Stoudemire, Callaway
8:04 a.m. — Garrett Rader vs. Shawn Wright, Bridgestone
8:12 a.m. — Seth Green vs. Casey Goetz, Bridgestone
8:20 a.m. — Spencer Holmes vs. Chris Tidwell, Bridgestone
8:28 a.m. — Dan Robbie vs. Zachary Ensor Callaway
8:36 a.m. — Mike Davis vs. Cole Greer, PING
8:44 a.m. — Stephen Stehney vs. Tony Southard, PING
8:52 a.m. — Brad Headrick vs. Caleb Tipton, PING
9:00 a.m. — Troy Baker vs. Zach McCamey, PING
9:08 a.m. — Paul Johnson vs. Brian Scott, Mizuno
9:16 a.m. — Harmon Duncan vs. Brad Clay, Mizuno
9:24 a.m. — James Snyder vs. Lynn Lane, Mizuno
9:32 a.m. — Ian Herrin vs. Mark Dugger, Mizuno
— — —
9:41 a.m. — Greg Goulds, Bob Ross, Tommy Scott
9:50 a.m. — Pat Kenney, Ronnie Burton, Mike Mills
9:59 a.m. — Ansley Bishop, James Love, Scott Campbell
10:08 a.m. — Dan Buchannan, Jerry Whitt
10:17 a.m.. — Tim Moore, Lyman Fulton, Randy Miller
10:26 a.m. — Jeff Isaacs, Dwight Scott, Jeff Andrews
10:35 a.m. — Tony Gouge, Danny Jones, David Greer
10:44 a.m. — Cary Daniels, Mark Atkins, Rick Mays
10:53 a.m. — Bryan Rodgers, Mike Poe, Ron Waters
11:02 a.m. — Mike Wood, James Fender, Bill Hardin
11:11 a.m. — Felicia Nidiffer, Mitch Nidiffer, David Croston
11:20 a.m. — Rick Wilson, Marv Orio, Mark Halvorsen
11:29 a.m. — Charlie Smith, Dave Bellessa, Ronnie Breeden
11:38 a.m. — Joe Avento, Stefan Salyer, Brad Rinella
— — —
Noon — Caleb Moss, Hunter O’Neal, Matt Love
12:09 p.m. — Tyler Presley, Cody Carlson, Izaak Hill
12:18 p.m. — Tyler Lane, Bryson Morrell, Nick Cohen
12:27 p.m. — Cameron Dugger, Cameron Lane, Kelly Lane
12:36 p.m. — Ben Harris, Jacob Davis, John Cornett
12:45 p.m. — Lucas Tabor, Nick York, Blake Howard
12:54 p.m. — Ryan Terry, Bryce Reed, Lawrence Largent
1:05 p.m. — Jeff Scott, Christofer Schaff, Brandon Mathis
1:14 p.m. — Taylor Gouge, Tanner Davis, Chip Spratlin
1:23 p.m. — Lucas Armstrong, Joe Brooks, Chris Guy
1:32 p.m. — Gibson Miller, Jackson Skeen, Chad McKinney
1:41 p.m. — DJ Swatzell, Chris Wynne, Joe Culpepper
1:50 p.m. — Shelby Ray Chancelor, Matthew Bateman, Zach Howe
1:59 p.m. — James Perez, Chad Homan, Wesley Jones
2:08 p.m. — Wes Hall, Carlos Almazan, Chad Wade
2:17 p.m. — Wes Bays, Jacob Owens, Sean Anderson
2:26 p.m. — Carter Counts, Grayson Clark, Thomas Jackson
2:35 p.m. — Zane Potter, Brandon Skelding, Zach Wood
2:44 p.m. — Ethan Burger, Hunter Hartman, Peyton Humphries
2:53 p.m. — Chance Taylor, Clint Lowe, Ben Treadway
3:02 p.m. — Bryan Sangid, Cayman Ratliff, Tory Davis