MARTIN, Tenn. – University of Tennessee at Martin rising senior Brendon Caballero carried on his impressive body of work this summer with yet another dominant victory at the 11th annual Tennessee Match Play Championship held at Holston Hills Country Club in Knoxville this weekend.
Earning the top seed in the 16-participant field, Caballero won 2&1 over current UT Chattanooga golfer Zac Stolz in the championship match on Sunday. Earlier in the day in a semifinal match, Caballero clinched a spot in the finals after holing out from 154 yards on the first playoff hole to defeat current University of Tennessee golfer Michael Monroe 2&1.
Earlier in the Tennessee Golf Association sponsored event, Caballero defeated current University of Tennessee golfer Jack Smith (5&3) and former Carson-Newman golfer Rafael Jackson (5&3) on Saturday to claim his fourth tournament championship in the summer of 2014.
Last weekend, Caballero stood out during the 78th annual Pepsi Paducah Bank Irvin Cobb Championships in Paducah, Ky. He carded 10 birdies on his way to an 8-under par effort in the first round, as his score of 63 led all participants (including professionals). He then followed that up with a 69 in the final round to top 75 other amateurs with his final score of 132 (-10). The final tally ranked as the second-best amateur score in the rich history of the event, trailing only former PGA Tour golfer Jay Haas.
The finish at Paducah was preceded by two other top finishes for Caballero this summer. The Brentwood native shot a 135 (70 first round, 65 second round) and won in a playoff at the Ken-Tenn Invitational in Fulton, Ky. while also earning first place honors with a 9-under par performance (69-68-70) in the Music City Invitational in Nashville.
In May, Caballero qualified for a chance to take part in the 2014 U.S. Open Championship with a top-five finish at the Colonial Country Club South course in Cordova.
“I have been hitting the ball consistently throughout the summer and my putting has been really getting better by tournament,” Caballero said. “Consistency for me is key.”
The first ever UT Martin golfer to earn All-Ohio Valley Conference accolades in multiple seasons, Caballero’s adventurous summer schedule includes a unique twist. Caballero is exempt for the Tennessee State Amateur but will withdraw in order to serve as the caddy for his fellow All-OVC Skyhawk teammate Ben Reeves in the U.S. Amateur on Aug. 11-17 at the Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek, Ga.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to caddy for Ben,” Caballero said. “Not many people get the chance to play – let alone caddy – in a tournament as prestigious as that one is. I’m looking forward to seeing what the USGA does for the tournament and setting up the course. It should be a very fun and interesting week.”
UT Martin head golf coach Jerry Carpenter was excited to hear the news of Caballero joining Reeves in the U.S. Amateur, which will also feature incoming Skyhawk freshman Hunter Richardson.
“The decision to caddy for Ben tells you what kind of kid Brendon is and what his values are,” Carpenter said. “Brendon is one of the top players on our team and he represents UT Martin with much class.”
Photo courtesy of the Tennessee Golf Association